July 24, 2011

Comfort – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:03 am by sranderson0103

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”

The Apostle Paul instructed Christians to “… weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) This is our job. There are times when our own selfish interest must take a back seat. The needs of those who are suffering take priority. We must roll up our sleeves and go to work, doing what ever is necessary to provide comfort.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that when our hearts are broken that we are not alone? We have many brothers and sisters to help us cry.

Additionally, we have God’s precious promises.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,  will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” (II Corinthians 1:3-7).

“… I am an ambassador in chains; …But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.” (Ephesians 6:20-22)

(Adapted from thoughts by an anonymous author)

 

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July 17, 2011

The Living Word / The Word of Life – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” (Philippians 2:16).

What role does the Word of God play in your life? We should realize that we cannot have a higher regard for God than we have for His Word. It is sad to see so many claiming to be Christians who know little of and care less for the God’s Word. Perhaps it would help such careless attitudes, as well as our own, if we realize that Christ and the Word are inseparable.

There is such beautiful correlation between the Living Word (Christ) and the written Word (the Bible) that certain Scriptures could well apply to either one. Such is the case with our text. The Philippians were exhorted to hold forth the Word of life, which presumably could mean either Christ, the Living Word, or else the Scriptures, which speak of and lead us to eternal life.

The same potential dual meaning can be discerned in such texts as II Timothy 4:2 (“Preach the word”) and Hebrews 4:12 (“The word of God is living, and active”). We typically think of these passages referring to the written word but we must preach Christ (I Cor.1:23) and He is certainly alive and active (Gal 2:20).

In fact, there are many beautiful figures of speech that are applied in the Bible to the ministries of both Christ and the Scriptures in a believer’s life.

For example, Christ is “the light of the world” (John 8:12), but also, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light” (Proverbs 6:23). Similarly Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), but He also said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). God also promised that “as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, . . . So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Both are described as the very personification of truth. Jesus said, “I am . . . the truth,” and He also prayed to the Father: “Thy word is truth” (John 14:6; 17:17). Finally, both must be received: “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21), for “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

All of this sheds light on and amplifies the beginning verse of the gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

July 10, 2011

The Word Is Powerful – Don Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:27 am by sranderson0103

I have several personal friends in Papua New Guinea, friends that have been made through our common efforts to teach the evidence for creation “through what has been made” (Rom.1:20).  I have reason to believe there will be dramatically significant evidence from this country that we will be able to document soon. As a result of these efforts, I have become aware of what appears to be encouraging news from Papua New Guinea. I believe we see in this news demonstration of the power of God’s word, a power we often do not appreciate as we should.

We tend to forget that this power changed the lives of thousands of Jews (Acts 2:41; 4:4) who had, just days earlier, demanded the crucifixion of their promised Messiah (Matt.27:22). The Gospel caused one of the most respected, well educated, influential Jews of his day to give up all that advantage and become “the scum of the world,” (I Cor. 4:13), for the sake of the Christ. It was powerful enough to convert a heathen who had been beating Paul and Silas, a jailer in ancient Philippi (Acts 16:33-34).

Papua New Guinea has a population of about six million divided into about 1000 tribal groups speaking at least 816 differentent languages. The complete Bible has been translated into only eight of these languages; the New Testament, into 150 of their languages. Almost 400 tribes have no translations. Many of the tribes, in the not too distant past, were cannibals and involved in some of the most animistic, ancestral and pagan practices in the world.

Does this sound like a good place to try to teach God’s Word? Actually what has happened in Papua New Guinea is truly amazing.

At the present almost 97% of the population identify themselves as “Christian.” Protestant denominationalists make up 60%, Catholics 28%, and there are 12% who consider themselves Christians who refuse any of these categories. They are usually referred to as independent: independent congregations, ruled by elders, refusing to be anything but Christians. Imagine that.

On Sept. 6, 2006, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea issued a national proclamation to “dedicate the nation back to God.” He publicly, officially called on the people throughout the nation to be in prayer.

One of my friends who is helping to document the creation evidence mentioned earlier, also works with one of the independent congregations. Earlier this year he reported an event that demonstrates the amazing power in God’s word to change lives.

He taught and converted a tribe that lived in the jungles of PNG. In his monthly bulletin, addressed to friends in the USA, he recounted the results of teaching them the way of life demanded by God. “A reconciliation meeting took place…in Rabaul, PNG.  During the meeting, the total tribe publicly asked forgiveness for killing and eating four Methodist missionaries.”

If we see that the Gospel has the power to change the lives of thousandsof unbelieving Jews in one sermon, a vicious persecutor of the church, a pagan Christian beater, as well as cannibals in PNG…why do we believe our neighbors would not be interested??

July 3, 2011

Good For Nothing Christians – Don Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Some lessons are difficult to communicate, especially lessons that tell people things they do not want to hear. Jesus often used parables to teach these unwelcome truths. The point would be missed by those not interested enough to search and ponder. Those who did would be rewarded with clearer insights. Jesus explained this approach as He sat in a boat, speaking to those who gathered on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Matthew 13.

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 “ For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

One of these difficult lessons that Jesus expressed in parables involves the responsibility of the child of God to work, to be profitable to the master. It has been observed by many that the majority of the work done by the Lord’s church is accomplished by about ten percent of the people. Again and again the Lord taught that the majority who sit and watch the few do the work will be terribly disappointed at the judgment. Consider how many different ways Jesus tried to communicate this terribly unpleasant reality.

 Salt That Has Lost Its Flavor

Matthew 5

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

The seasoning quality of salt may be lost due to impurities. When it does it is worthless. Salt is a preservative. If it loses that ability it is of no value. Some that are good people, but as Jesus says of useless salt, they are “good for nothing.”

Being trampled underfoot is not a pleasant picture. Our minds tend to pass over it, but think about it. Jesus is teaching those willing to think, that this is serious.

 A Light Under A Basket

Matthew 5

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “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.

Light dispels darkness. It reveals the good and safe way to walk, while at the same time exposing dangers. Light, when it is covered up, is still light but it doesn’t do its job. Christians live in a world of darkness, but by word and deed we should show the good and expose the evil. If we fail to accomplish this, we are good for nothing (Eph. 5:8-13).

Soil, Trees, Branches, That Do Not Produce Fruit

Matthew 7

17 “So every good tree bears good fruit… 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

John 15

2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Fruit trees that produce no fruit just take up space and waste nutrients. Jesus says they are to be burned. Good fruit trees are wonderfully productive. They provide a revealing picture of faithful Christians. Jesus teaches that by bearing we glorify the Father, we prove to be His disciples.

Are you glorifying the Father? Are you really a disciple?

Think about it. Jesus says the answer to these questions will determine whether or not you will be burned.