August 5, 2018

Homosexuality Has Consequences – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Homosexuality Has Consequences

Now And Forever

Don R. Patton

Many are influenced by the drumbeat of our liberal media, continually preaching their interpretation of morality (allowed if against the Bible). They militantly demand that the public accept their false claim that the practice of homosexuality is a natural, inborn, genetically determined, un-chosen behavior.

The journal Science has reported, “But many genetic screens have failed to turn up genes that are responsible for sexual orientation….why someone is attracted to a person of the same sex is a question for which science may never fill in all the blanks.” (December 11, 2012)

Of course, particular fleshly temptations are stronger in some individuals than in others, but the obligation to resist and control is shared by all.

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. We need to be reminded that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote:

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy;…” (James 4:12)

The apostle Paul told the Athenian philosophers that God …

“…has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

Jesus himself said…

the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 21:48)

That word was divinely revealed and recorded by the authorized ambassadors of Jesus. (II Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20). They made the will of The Judge very clear.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-10)

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,… For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Romans 1:18, 26-27)

The last phrase in Paul’s inspired warning is intriguing. These individuals will receive a “due penalty.” He doesn’t describe the nature of the consequence but says it will be “in their own [physical] persons.”

Physical consequences do not compare with eternal, but the fulfilled predictions of Scripture may serve to validate our conviction that the Bible reveals divine wisdom. In spite of powerful, brutal opposition from those supporting the homosexual agenda, reluctant reporting of the physical consequences of homosexuality is leaking out. The following revelations from the scientific community are sobering.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)…

“In 2015, MSM [Men who have Sex with Men] had 68% of all new HIV infections, even though they made up only around 2% of the population.”

MEDICAL PRESS -August 1, 2018,

One in three youths who break the law identify as LGBTQ

Report on Study By University of California, San Francisco

Adolescents who identified as non-heterosexual are significantly over-represented among first-time offenders, according to a new study …

The study also found that depression, self-harm, and drug and alcohol use were more prevalent among youth who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (LGBTQ) or other sexual minorities, as compared with straight youth. …

… the sexual-minority group, whose ages averaged 14, 46.6 percent had used alcohol, versus 26.6 percent of the heterosexual group. They were also approximately twice as likely to use drugs, including synthetic cannabis, cocaine and injection drugs as the heterosexual group—20.2 percent and 10.3 percent respectively.

The study publishes in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Aug.1, 2018.

 

 

 

 

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July 29, 2018

With Authority and Power – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority, … And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out. (Lk. 4:31-32, 36)

The pompous Pharisees taught, but claimed the authority was from Moses. Jesus taught very differently. Again and again, dozens of times, Jesus is recorded validating His teaching with the words, “I say to you…” Then it really disturbed them when He substantiated His necessarily implied claim of authority with undeniable miracles.

He spoke and acted as God which is exactly who He was.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

The Pharisees understood the implication when Jesus backed up His teaching with the weighty words, “I say to you…”

When He spoke, He was speaking with the authority and power of God. Of course, this is also true of words “breathed out by God” in Scripture. ” (II Timothy 3:16 ESV)

Consider how many and varied are the physical analogies used to characterize, illustrate and emphasize its power.

For example, the prophet Jeremiah says, “‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” (Jeremiah 23:29)

The fire analogy is also stressed when the prophet became weary of the negative reaction against his preaching:

But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

God’s Word is called a sharp sword wielded by the Holy Spirit. As part of the Christian’s spiritual armor, we are exhorted to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:17)

The Hebrew writer describes it in a similar manner.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Perhaps even more authority and power is indicated when the word is compared to light, the most basic of all forms of energy, or power.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. …The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:105, 130)

The first spoken words of Christ our Creator were “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3)

But no earthly form of power can compare to the power in the words of the One who is Himself the living word of God the Lord Jesus Christ, for He actually “…upholds all things by the word of His power…” (Hebrews 1:3)

 

 

 

July 22, 2018

“Even If It Means …”-By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Far too often, I am reminded that the earthly, temporal attitudes of the world exert a powerful influence, shaping and molding the thinking of those who should be guided by the light of God’s divine wisdom.

Perhaps most would recoil from the charge that they believe in “situation ethics,” but, just confront them with a situation where obeying God’s word means significant consequences, especially physical harm, and many feel confidently justified in disobedience.

Too many follow the cowardly example of the Apostle Peter, who folded under the threat of consequences he saw Jesus enduring.

“Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.” Matt. 26:74

Contrast the world’s wimpy waffling with the courageous declaration of Queen Esther, determined to risk her life in service to God and His people.

“Bring together all the Jews in Susa and tell them to go without eating for my sake! Don’t eat or drink for three days and nights. My servant girls and I will do the same. Then I will go in to see the king, even if it means I must die.” (Esther 4:16 Contemporary English Version)

It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to face such a threat in order to do the will of God.

In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to endure the fiery furnace rather than worship as “everyone” worshiped in Babylon. They courageously said to the world’s monarch, Nebuchadnezzar…

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18).

God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith. History indicates that Peter learned from his failure and together with all the apostles, save John, died as martyrs. So have countless others throughout bloody centuries. In the view of the world, that makes no sense. But from the perspective of eternity, it is perfectly understandable that, “…they did not love their life even when faced with death. ” (Revelation 12:11)

Recall that it was Peter who exhorted…

“…be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse. For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. …In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word…” (I Peter 2:18-20; 3:1 NET)

John urged the Christians in Asia Minor…

“Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself.” NET

Believers in many nations around the world today are suffering such persecutions. If a similar choice confronts us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul…

“according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

May we courageously say, as Esther said, I’ll serve God “even if it means I must die.”

 

 

 

July 15, 2018

Are You Sound In The Faith – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Are You Sound In The Faith

By Ken Weliever

Through the years, I have been asked regarding the “soundness” of a specific church, Christian, or a preacher. “Are they sound?” the question is raised.

Usually the definition of “soundness” was based on specific brotherhood issues regarding the work, worship, and organization of the church.

Some would say a “sound” church spends their money in a certain way. A “sound” Christian would not attend a church that engages in “unsound” practices. And a “sound” preacher condemns all of the above, plus teaches the truth on baptism, music, and salvation. And does not read the books of certain authors who are “unsound.” This definition seriously limits the meaning of “sound.”

This morning I was struck by Paul’s usage of the word “sound” in Titus 2. To this young preacher, he exhorts to speak the things pertaining to “sound doctrine.” To use “sound speech” that is beyond reproach. And to admonish older men to be “sound in the faith.” Three times in 8 verses the word “sound” is used and not once is money mentioned.

In fact, the application of being “sound” in this text relates to the behavior of Believers. It has to do with their spiritual health and well being. Titus is to be aware of several groups of people and encourage them to be “sound in the faith” as he preaches “sound doctrine.” Older men. Younger men. Older women. Younger women. Bondservants. And Titus himself.

The older men and women who exhibit the characteristics of a sound life are to equip younger men and women to live a life that is “sound in the faith.” These qualities speak to the development of character and integrity. Living a life that is dignified, respected and temperate.

As the wise man expressed “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 16:31). As we get older, not only chronologically, but in spiritual maturity, we should be able to offer wisdom, insight and sound counsel to younger men and women.

This text addresses issues of Christian conduct and attitudes that evidence a pure heart and a holy life. He specifically speaks to the domestic role of wives and mothers in the home. Teach them to “love their husbands” and to “love their children.” What does this mean? How is it applied?

Too often even ladies classes in the church are just another Bible class like Sunday or Wednesday with no application to their unique, God-given role. And more often than not, they are scheduled at a time when the majority of the young women who need them cannot attend. Sound teaching in the church addresses these needs. Older women by virtue of their years of experience can gently guide today’s modern mother and offer advice far superior than she’s receiving from secular sources.

Just the understanding of love and femininity has been perverted by the world. The virtues of purity, chastity, modesty and respectable behavior should be modeled by older women and taught to younger women.

Men need leadership training. How to be God’s man, which is so much different than the world portrays. How do you lead a home and love your wife? And understand her needs? What qualities must be developed to Shepherd God’s spiritual flock? A successful life is more than making money and providing for the family. It delves deeply into one’s inner being. His soul. His heart. His character.

It’s not too soon to begin in High School with separate classes for boys and girls with Biblical instruction relating to their lifestyles, future relationships, and spiritual growth. We are serious about preparing them for college and a career, what about equipping them to be “sound in the faith” when they leave home?

There is so much to be considered in the text that goes beyond our normal definition of “soundness.”

It’s possible to attend a “sound church,” refrain from engaging in unscriptural practices, yet never developing a sound and healthy spiritual life.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

 

 

 

July 8, 2018

Determine In Your Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“10 Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10 Holman)

The original Hebrew word translated “determined” or “set” is defined by the lexicon, Brown Driver Briggs to mean…

be firm… 1. be set up, established, fixed:… securely determined;… be fixed aright, steadfast;

That which is to be “fixed” is the heart, often misunderstood in scripture. Of this Hebrew tern Brown Driver Briggs says…

inner man, mind, will, heart — The inner, middle,… 1. the inner man in contrast with the outer,… 2. the inner man, indef. the soul, comprehending mind, affections and will,… thinking, reflection,…conception of thoughts of mind;…set the mind, consider,

Our hearts do not easily conform to God’s holiness. Our finite understanding is understandably different from God’s infinite holiness. Contrary to what false teachers want you to think, “hearts” are not dependable guides to God’s viewpoint. Jeremiah reveals that, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Therefore, a prophet, a “man of God,” had to exert determined effort to fix his inner self to think differently. To accomplish this, Ezra had to study and that did not come naturally. He had to work at fixing his mind to study, and fix his mind to yield (“obey”) and fix his mind to teach, not his own ideas but God’s “statutes and ordinances.”

This is what Ezra did, even in the court of a foreign king, in the midst of the enemies of God’s people in a far country, and even surrounded by the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on God’s thinking revealed in His laws.

Prevalent thinking today is that Ezra’s course was fine for himself, as long as he kept his religion to himself, but he should not try to impose his views on others.

The fundamental flaw in such thinking is the confusing God’s laws with Ezra’s ideas. Have you noticed how slick that deceitful, bait and switch takes place? …from generous, respectful, honoring of religion to the slandering accusation of opinionated, bigoted meddling…all in the same sentence. Keep your guard up. Satan is “crafty” and effectively uses what appears to be righteous messengers (II Corinthians 11:14).

It’s not hard to imagine unfaithful, guilty Israel telling Ezra to keep his own meddlesome notions to himself. Instead, the Holy Spirit reveals the example of this righteous man resisting the temptation to fit in and determining “to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

In stark contrast, we read of King Rehoboam whose self-serving, sinful rebellion led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. The judgment of God came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam “he did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

We have work to do. Like Ezra, we need to prepare, determine, fix our hearts to study, obey and teach. It’s not easy, because of the misleading of our own mundane perspectives and because these appealing ideas agree with the surrounding, deafening crowd. We need help. God will, if we humble our stubborn hearts and ask.

“LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,” (Psalm 10:17 NKJV).

 

 

 

July 1, 2018

A Song From God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

A Song From God:

Great, Perfect, Just, Reliable, Fair

Israel finally finished their forty-year wilderness wandering. The children of the unfaithful were approaching the Promised Land, when God revealed to Moses that he would soon die. But first, God gave His law to Israel for a second time and renewed His covenant with them. He commanded Moses to write down the law in its entirety.

Then, God gave them a song.

“Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. …So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, …you must acknowledge the greatness of our God. …his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.” (Deuteronomy 31:19, 22; 32:3, 4 NET)

God intended for these thoughts to be in their minds continually, as they thought about God’s law and were guided by it in years to come.

One of the most common excuses for rejecting or doubting the existence of the God of the Bible is the foolish opinion that His ways are unfair. Even Christians are prone to complain about the way God deals with them. When we stretch our feeble comprehension toward trying to understand who God is, we are forced to conclude that our understanding will not approach His, that our pitifully uninformed attempts to pass judgment on the ways of God are utterly foolish.

Again and again and again God reminds us in His Word that His way is perfect and expects us to be singing about it.

“Sing to him a new song! …. shout out your praises to him! For the LORD’s decrees are just, and everything he does is fair. The LORD promotes equity and justice; the LORD’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth.” (Psalms 33:3-5 NET)

“The law of the LORD is perfect and preserves one’s life. The rules set down by the LORD are reliable and impart wisdom to the inexperienced. The LORD’s precepts are fair and make one joyful. The LORD’s commands are pure and give insight for life. The commands to fear the LORD are right and endure forever. The judgments given by the LORD are trustworthy and absolutely just.” (Psalm 19:7-9 NET)

We need to settle in our hearts the unwavering conviction that God’s ways are always perfect, whether our feeble understanding appreciates them or not. Since our thinking, our sense of justice, does not approach His, His will be different from ours. Unless we think that we think like God, we should not be surprised. Reaching the same conclusions reached by the eternal, infinitely holy God, is not expected on the part of sinners. His ways are always in the context of eternity, but we leap to judgment in terms of present inconvenience. What He does is necessarily, absolutely right, and fair and just and pure. Whatever He says is perfect. The difference reveals our foolishness.

His perfect way is seen fully in Christ, and His truth is heard clearly in Christ, for “I am the way,” He said, and I am “the truth” (John 14:6). Yet, Christ’s way was through the cross, and His truth was opposed by the father of lies (John 8:44). God’s way for us may also lead us into suffering and great opposition, but His way is always perfect, and His Word is tried and true. If we trust Him through it all, He will be our buckler as He was for David. “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

Adapted from an article by Henry M. Morris

 

 

 

June 24, 2018

“They Are Mine” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. “And they will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” (Malachi 3:16-17)

We find this assuring promise toward the end of the Old Testament period, a sad time of disgusting, idolatrous unfaithfulness on the part of most in God’s chosen nation. But, there were a faithful few, a remnant.

Today, again, Christians find themselves in the minority (as expected). We can benefit from God’s words of encouragement to those in similar circumstances in the past. We should study the former situations, the conduct of the faithful remnant as well as God’s attitude toward them. First, consider the attitude of the faithful toward God. These were the few, who “fear the LORD and who esteem His name.” In addition to the demonstration of God’ majesty, obvious in His creation, their own heritage taught them multiple lesson of God’s awesome power, His character, and generous provision when His servants served Him. Noble hearts, pondering such lessons, respond in reverence. The shallow, ungrateful majority remain oblivious.

Then, consider that these faithful few “spoke one to another.” (The King James Version adds, “often.”) The remnant (typically confronted, threatened by the majority) understood the benefit of encouragement from each other. Their conversations were not just about the weather or sports events. They talked about things that mattered, their spiritual survival.

Next, consider God’s response to the conversations of these few saints: “the LORD gave attention and heard it.” Are we aware that God listens to what we talk about? Those whose conversation indicated that they “fear the LORD and …esteem His name,” God hears, gives attention, and registers in a special “book of remembrance.” Would you be embarrassed to have your conversations in God’s book…or would God appreciate what he hears?

This faithful few, God’s remnant is assured of His ultimate provision: “they will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” They will be spared while others are being judged “on the day” when all will give account.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Cor. 5:10)

Let’s determine to be among the remnant (ignoring the influence of the majority), making sure we fear the LORD and esteem His name. And make sure that our frequent conversations with fellow Christians reflect that attitude. Know that God is watching, listening and writing. The reward of the faithful few will be great.

 

 

June 17, 2018

Joy and Gladess – Curtis E. Flatt

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

In Luke 1:14 Zacharias was told that Elizabeth would bear a son and that he would, as a result, have joy and gladness. This combination of words joy and gladness was often used in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 35:10 they are used to describe the joyful flourishing of the kingdom of God or the church which was to come. This son of joy and gladness was born and came announcing that the kingdom of God was at hand. (Matthew 3:2) This is certainly a New Testament theme, for the word joy in its various forms is found nearly a hundred times in the New Testament. Those of us who are in the church apparently sometimes fail to find or else we forget the joy and gladness of being a part of the redeemed.

No Joy And Gladness

There are things in which people should find no joy and gladness. So often people find joy and gladness in sin. This is no strange thing, for sin has its attractions, for sure. (1 John 2:15-17) But this which seems to be of joy and gladness finally leads to destruction. We must not find joy and gladness in doing our own thing as did the Israelites when they made their golden calf. (Acts 7:41) Innovations in worship bring joy and gladness to many, but there will be sorrow one day because of them. (Matthew 7:23)

Many Things Of Joy and Gladness

There are many things in which people should have joy and gladness even though they may not recognize their attractions.

Here is contained a number of these as found in the New Testament.

  1. People ought to have joy and gladness in the temporal things God prepared, i.e., rain from heaven and fruitful seasons. (Acts 14:17). However, there are other things of much more importance to bring joy and gladness.
  2. People ought to have joy and gladness in that they have opportunity to hear the gospel—the good news. When the man of Ethiopia heard the gospel, he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:39) This was because he had found something of great importance to fill him with joy and gladness. So many miss this entirely.
  3. People ought to have joy and gladness in that through this gospel they can be in Christ. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Philippians 3:1) Herein is reason for joy and gladness for it is here (in Christ) where all spiritual blessings are available. (Ephesians 1:3) This reminds us of the importance of baptism for it is by and through baptism that people get into Christ. (Galatians 3:26,27). None are in Christ who have not been baptized correctly.
  4. People should have joy and gladness in the hope which is in Christ. (Hebrews 3.6) Nothing is so saddening as to see our loved one die without the hope which is in Christ. On the other hand, nothing fills the soul of the mourner with joy and gladness like hope. Hope is one of the abiding things. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ….” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

It should also be noticed that people should have joy and gladness in the opportunity to worship God. Even though the psalmist did not have all the advantages people have in Christ, he experienced joy and gladness in worship: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1) There is but little doubt, if any, that he was talking about worship. I may be a poor judge, but I fail to detect on the part of many when it comes to worshipping God. Have we missed something?

  1. In view of all of this, is it any wonder that when Christians have to suffer for right that the New Testament teaches that they should suffer with joy and gladness? The New Testament does teach that. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” There is so much meaning in the song we sing:

Tho’ your heart may be heavy with sorrow and care,

You may others to gladness beguile,

If a face like the light of the morning you wear,

And carry your cross with a smile!

For the work that you willingly, faithfully do,

You shall reap a reward after while;

Only grace in your service can glorify you,

So carry your cross with a smile.

We conclude with David’s statement to which Peter referred in Acts 2:26:”Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:8) “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at the right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

 

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June 10, 2018

Answering God’s Call – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Former heavyweight boxing champ George Foreman said he named all five of his sons and two of his five girls some form of “George” so that when he called out “George!” someone would show up! Good plan- though I’m sure it got somewhat confusing at times.

The Old Testament has some interesting and informative accounts of various individual’s responses to God calling them….

  • Adam, after his sin, hid himself when God called to him, Genesis 3:9-10;
  • Contrastingly, when God called to Moses from the burning bush, Moses responded simply, “Here I am,” Exodus 3:4;
  • When God called to the young boy Samuel in the still quietness of the night, he responded (as advised by the much older and wiser Eli), “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant is listening,” 1Samuel 3:10; and,
  • Isaiah, after being cleansed from sin (cf. Isaiah 6:5-7), heard the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” responded, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8.

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of it before or not, but there is no record of any of the Twelve disciples whom Jesus called refusing to answer favorably, drop whatever they were doing, and follow Him, cf. Matthew 9:9; 10:2-4ff; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:27-28; 6:12-16ff.

Before we continue, please understand that God no longer speaks to us audibly or individually today as He did in these examples. The reason for this is simple: God now speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His gospel. Consider two passages in these regards. Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world.” And, 2Thessalonians 2:13-14, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So “Yes,” we are all “called” by God, but such is accomplished through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All of this begs the question (perhaps somewhat obviously by now), “How are you responding to God’s call?”

  • When He calls you into account for your sin and to repentance, do you refuse to answer and seek to hide yourself from Him, as did Adam? You can’t hide from God. Instead of trying to do so, you should confess our sins, and repent of them. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is no declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead,” Acts 17:30-31.
  • When He calls you to become His servant to go and save, serve, and lead others to the promised land of heaven, do you respond, as did Moses, “Here I am.”? Understand your purpose. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” 1Peter 2:9-10.
    • When He calls to you regarding the course and dedication of your life to His purposes, do you respond, as did Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant is listening.”? You must not only listen, but also follow Jesus in obedience. “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the river burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built,” Luke 6:46-48.
    • When He calls you to the difficult task of condemning sin and proclaiming His salvation to the lost, do you respond, as did Isaiah, “Here I am. Send Me!”? You can’t be a “closet Christian.” “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,” Jude 4; and, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

    God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit is calling you to salvation and service in the Kingdom. How are you are responding to Their call?

    (Philip C. Strong; Southport Church of Christ; 7202 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227

     

 

 

June 3, 2018

The Greatness of God’s Love – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

This morning reading Romans 8 reminded me of the story of little Johnny visiting his grandparents on their farm.

Johnny was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced shooting rocks, but he could never hit the target. Discouraged, he headed back inside for lunch.

As he returned to his grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. Impulsively he took aim and hit the duck square in the head and killed it. Johnny panicked and hid the duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister, Sally, watching.

After lunch that day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally responded, “Grandma. Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today, didn’t you Johnny?” And then she whispered to him. “Remember the duck!”

So Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have?

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing, and Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.” But, Sally smiled and said, “Well, that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.”

And she whispered again, “Remember the duck!” So, Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed at the house!

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, he finally could not stand it any longer. He came up to his grandmother and confessed that he killed the duck.

She knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. It does my heart good to see you admit you’re wrong and because I love you, I forgive you. But I was wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”

Too many Christians are like little Johnny. They are trying to hide their sins. Deny their faults. Or cover their tracks. But the fact is we all sin. Even Christians. We’re not perfect. But we’re pardoned.

Paul reminds us in Romans that the “gift of God” through our faith in Christ and obedience to His Word offers justification from our sins. So, Paul raises these pertinent and practical questions.

Who can accuse us? Who can condemn us? Who can be against us?

Not God.

God loves us with a love that is beyond human comprehension.  Rhetorically, Paul asks “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

But to leave no doubt, the apostle emphatically and powerfully answers the question.

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.

When Satan accuses you and tries to burden you with guilt,  turn to the love of God to receive forgiveness.

When you face some trouble, trial, trauma or circumstances beyond your control that saps your spirit, remember God loves you.

When you lament the debilitating effects of sin that impact all of us. Either directly or indirectly. Crooked politicians. Greedy business people. Hypocritical church leaders. Fickle friends. All of which can leave us feeling betrayed. Empty. And alone. Never forget God loves you.

When feelings of loneliness, doubt or discouragement surface, lean on the divine truth that God loves you.

God’s love is greater than any adversity. Higher than any hurdle. Deeper than any hole. Wider than any sea. Stronger than any wind. Sweeter than than any love.

God’s love cannot be extinguished. Bought. Sold. Compromised. Or diminished.

There is no circumstance, no person, or problem that can separate us from the love of God.

In fact, even your own rejection of God does not dampen His love for you. As a bumper sticker, I once saw said, “God loves you. Whether you like it or not.”

God has made a conscious choice to love us. Even while we were yet sinners.

God’s love is longsuffering. Kind. And unselfish. God’s love is wide enough to include all people. Deep enough to forgive all sins. And long enough to use all people for His purpose.

So when the world tries to dampen your spirit, and Satan wants to steal the music from within you, fill your heart with the melody and message of this song by Frederick M Lehman.

The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell It goes beyond the highest star And reaches to the lowest hell The guilty pair, bowed down with care God gave His Son to win His erring child He reconciled And pardoned from his sin

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

 

 

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