February 22, 2015

Teaching and Admonishing In Song – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Most Christians understand that they are commanded to sing in worship to God, an enjoyable command, even if one is not a talented singer. Music stimulates our senses and emotions. When combined with spiritual truths, we are greatly benefited.

“…teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing  with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

“…speaking to  one another in  psalms and  hymns and spiritual  songs,  singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  “ (Ephesians 5:19)

We are familiar with the New Testament passages but many Christians do not understand that God has always expected His people to sing. The book of Psalms was essentially a songbook for Israel. Of course, other songs are scattered throughout Scripture, written by a variety of prophets and leaders. The Lord commanded Moses and Joshua to write portions of the Law, details of God’s dealings with the nation, as well as His promise of judgment, should they disobey—in a song. “Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips,…” (Deuteronomy 31:19)

This song would serve several functions. First, it would be a memory device.

“Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants)” (Deuteronomy 31:21)

Perhaps most Christians understand that many portions of Scripture are set to music. Often the old favorites are conglomerates of many verses around a doctrinal theme. By this method Christians memorize without trying, or without realizing it, many, many verses of Scripture. In fact, this certainly is one of the best, if not the very best way to build biblical principles into the lives of our children.

The second function of Moses’ song would be to confront and teach those in disobedience.

“Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete: …O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, Your elders, and they will tell you. “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples…” (Deuteronomy 31:30; 32:6-8)

At the conclusion of the song we read:

Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun. When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:44-47)

Israel was expected to be receptive to the teachings contained in the songs God gave them. Likewise, our hearts should be attuned to the divine messages we sing. Unfortunately, Israel seldom listened, even to those songs they had memorized. Thus, the third and evidently primary function of this song was to “testify against them as a witness”

“Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 31:19)

Much of this song carefully explains their coming apostasy and inevitable judgment. No doubt many remembered this song and its message with tears as they marched into captivity, unable to charge God with unfaithfulness.

This part of the Old Testament example is what we must not follow. Rather, let the message of our songs sink deep into our hearts and live them every day.

Adapted from an article by John D. Morris

Advertisements

February 15, 2015

Musings – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

As I sit down to write this week’s article, I can’t seem to come up with a single thought I can develop into the 700 to 800 words needed for it. Instead there a several things swirling around in my head. So here they are.

Prayer—There have been many prayers offered up for Don Patton these last several weeks because of his continuing health issues. And not only for Don, but for many in our midst who are suffering life threatening disease, the infirmities associated with growing old, continuing pain, family troubles, and confinement to rehab centers to name only a few. Isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who listens to us and upon whom we can cast all our cares and burdens (1 Peter 5:7)?  Prayer doesn’t necessarily come to us naturally. We have to learn how to pray. One of Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Teach us how to pray” (Luke 11:1). We have a model prayer found there (Luke 11:2-4) and also in Matthew 6:9-13. I have heard it said that we often teach our young ones how to pray by asking them to remember to PAT: praise, ask and thank. That’s a good beginning. But however we pray, let us make it from the heart not using vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

Creation—What a beautiful day we had yesterday! It is truly a blessing to enjoy God’s creation. The beauty of the sky, the warmth of the sun, and the freshness of the breeze through the trees reminds me of the first verse and chorus of This Is My Father’s World:

This is my Father’s world,

and to my listening ears,

all nature sings and ‘round me rings,

the beauty of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world,

I rest me in the thought,

of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,

His hand the wonders wrought.”

We know that God created this world and “It was good” (Genesis 1:31). But, wait until late today and tomorrow. The weather forecast for our state is from snow to freezing rain. Talk about climate change! This rapid change should remind us that the forces of nature are beyond man’s ability to control. Anyone who has lived through a hurricane, tornado, or flood clearly understands their power and how little, if anything, man can do to affect the outcome.

Love—Yesterday was Valentine’s day, and I’m sure we men all remembered to tell our wives how much we love them. Many think of that day as a day for giving candy, flowers, cards, etc. But real love between a man and woman goes far beyond that. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that a man should love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it and that a man should love is own wife and their own body. That demonstrates a deep abiding love that does not change. It is a love that sacrifices and places his wife before himself.

However, the love more often spoken of in the Bible is the love we should have for one another. Matthew 22:39 teaches us that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. There are many ways of demonstrating that kind of love. Providing help and care in time of need, making calls, sending cards, just making a visit to someone’s home, running errands, and sometime just being a good listener. Not everyone can do all those things, but each of us can do some of them. Paul wrote to the Galatians, and it is very good advice for us too, “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)

All Is Vanity—Solomon wrote, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)  As we look back over our lives, we might tend to agree with him. Certainly, there are things that we look back to with fondness and they bring us happiness. However, we begin to realize that it is not the material things we have that are of real value, but the relationships we have with one another and with God. These truly are more precious than silver and gold (Proverbs 22:1). We are part of God’s family, his children (1 John 3:1). It is this relationship that will serve us well, now and into eternity.—Amen

February 8, 2015

All Creation Is To Praise God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Let heaven and earth praise Him, The seas and everything that moves in them.  (Psalms 69:34)

Our minds stretch pathetically in feeble attempts to grasp the ungraspable vastness and majesty of God’s creation.

Honest, inquiring minds are driven to ask “How?” David is inspired by God to answer.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalms 33:6-9)

Those who “stand in awe” pondering David’s answer, proceed naturally to the next question, “Why?”

I doubt that we will ever understand the full purpose of creation, but at least one purpose is that all things created should praise the Creator. This theme occurs often in Scripture, especially in the Psalms.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork. Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals his greatness. There is no actual speech or word, nor is its voice literally heard. Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth; its words carry to the distant horizon. (Psalm 19:1-4 NET)

Let the sky rejoice, and the earth be happy! Let the sea and everything in it shout! Let the fields and everything in them celebrate! Then let the trees of the forest shout with joy (Psalm 96:11-12 NET)

All he has made will give thanks to the LORD. Your loyal followers will praise you. They will proclaim the splendor of your kingdom; they will tell about your power, so that mankind might acknowledge your mighty acts, and the majestic splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. (Psalm 145:11-13 NET)

Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them forever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: (Psalm 148:1-10 KJV)

The Pharisees were upset because Jesus’ disciples began to “praise God” and Jesus who came in His name. Jesus responded by describing the necessary, undeniable, irrepressible implication if men did not open their mouths praise God.

…the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God  joyfully with a loud voice for all the  miracles which they had seen, shouting: “BLESSED IS THE  KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out! (Luke 19:37-40)

Yet even though the whole creation — in its awe-inspiring design and stunning beauty — gives continual praise to its Creator, men have dishonestly denied the undeniable and perversely turned the truth wrong side out.

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, … (Romans 1:25)

We are often bewildered by it all. “What’s it all about?” David understood the defiant rebellion of the wicked and the profoundly significant, inherent obligation of the righteous. His grasp of the purpose of creation is seen in the concluding words of his last Psalm.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 150:6)

 

February 1, 2015

Modern Man – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Modern man’s BIG three problems are not jobs, healthcare, and taxes- in any order.  Instead, they are…
Not believing in the God of the Bible.  One of the major purposes of the Bible is to further reveal God to mankind.  We can discern the power and the goodness of God from the creation itself, Romans 1:20, but the Scriptures reveal the mind of God- at least those portions of His thoughts and ways that He chose to reveal to us, 1Corinthians 2:10-13.  But, modern man has sought to reinvent God in his own image and according to his own desires instead of believing in the God of the Bible.  How so?  Modern man has chosen to ignore much of what God reveals about Himself through the inspired text.  For instance, the attributes of God that are deemed favorable to man- such as His love, mercy, grace, and capacity for physical provision and spiritual forgiveness are readily accepted, while the righteousness, justice, wrath, and vengeance of God toward those who rebel against Him and refuse to do His will are conveniently minimized to the point of being overshadowed, if not ignored completely.  Passages such as Romans 2:4-10 speak not only of the kindness, forbearance, and patience of God (v.4), but also of the wrath, judgment, indignation, tribulation, and distress He promises for those who are “selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth,” vv.5,8,9.  Thus, modern man’s one-sided view of God yields a very distorted perspective of Him as being unwilling to punish disobedience, which in turn produces a very dangerous false sense of security, cf. 2Peter 3:3-13. Additionally, modern man’s fascination with and dedication to pantheism (that God is in and is everything, and that everything is God) and pluralism (basically, the notion that most if not all religious belief systems are of equal authority, relevance, and value) clearly contradict the Bible, Ephesians 4:4-6.

Not believing in the Savior of the Bible.  Modern man has sought to reinvent Jesus Christ according to his own desires instead of believing in the Christ of the Bible.  How so?  The modern concept of Jesus is that of a Savior who loves and accepts everyone as they are- without reservation or qualification.  This, too, is a false perspective.  Although the Bible certainly presents Jesus as a Savior who loves and sacrificed Himself for all of mankind, cf. Revelation 1:5, it does not follow that such equals unconditional acceptance of us- i.e. without our repentance and transformation.  Jesus died to save us from, not in, our sins.  The Savior demanded that His disciples: deny themselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24) and keep His commandments rather than just professing their love for Him (John 14:15) and claiming to be His (Luke 6:46).  Jesus demanded repentance and obedience to the gospel because He loved us and wanted us to be saved from our sins.  But the modern view of Jesus as one who loves, accepts, and saves everyone without qualification or reservation is just not the Savior of the Bible.  “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has been truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked,” 1John 2:3-6.

Not believing in the Church of the Bible.  Modern man has sought to reinvent the church according to his own desires instead of believing in the one in the Bible.  The church, as presented in the Bible is a collectivity of individuals: who believe and obey the gospel, cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41,47; who stand for and upon the Truth, 1Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 3:10; who worship in spirit and in truth, John 4:23-24; and who continue to grow in and teach the Truth, Ephesians 4:11-16.  But modern man has sought to redefine and reinvent the church for which Jesus died as a center for social activities, a place of academic learning and daycare, and an organization to meet the physical needs of man and society.  Friends, the church of the Bible is: God’s household, Ephesians 2:19; built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets of God with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone, v.20; a holy temple, v.21; and a dwelling of God, v.22.  Man, whether ancient or modern, has no right to turn it into anything else, or less!

If we fail to believe in the God of the Bible, the Savior of the Bible, or the Church of the Bible, we do so at the peril of our souls, Hebrews 10:26-31.  Please consider these things carefully, and read the Bible for yourself to see if they are so.