May 31, 2015

The Value of Life – Josh Smelser

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

You don’t have to search very hard these days in order to come across a story that illustrates just how far humanity as a whole has fallen.  It has been estimated that the loss of human life from conflict in the 20th century is greater than the previous 19 centuries put together.  The abortion figures are heartbreaking. War is a perpetual cycle, and despite our knowledge of blatant human rights violations the international community is content to remain neutral. Why is this? Humanity as a whole has adopted an “us vs. them” mentality that prioritizes the individual’s rights and desires over any moral foundation. Because of this a blatant disregard for the sanctity of life has become the norm.

This was never God’s intention. God is arguably the only deity out of the world’s religions who places an intrinsic value on human existence. In Psalm 139:13 the psalmist shares this care placed on the individual. “Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb.”

God values all human life, because as the psalmist says he formed each and every life in the womb of their mothers. Likewise our inheritance and importance in God’s universal plan is examined by David in Psalm 8:4-8,

“Of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them? Of what importance is mankind that you should pay attention to them, and make them a little less than the heavenly beings? You grant mankind honor and majesty; you appoint them to rule over your creation; you have placed everything under their authority, Including all the sheep and cattle, as well as the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea and everything that moves through the currents of the seas.”

God not only knit each and every one of us individually before our births, but esteemed us to a position of power and authority. He has granted us authority over the world and dominion over the animals. However this kind of power comes with a responsibility not only to the God of heaven and earth, but also to the other inhabitants of the earth—something it seems that many have long forgotten. The prophet Isaiah condemns the children of Israel for the same selfish and lawless behavior we see echoed in our own time. In Isaiah 1:16-17 The Lord commands: Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

We as Christians have a responsibility to stand out not only by our behavior and beliefs, but also in our treatment of those the world has seemingly forsaken.

This idea is summarized in what we have deemed “The Golden Rule”, And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. –Luke 6:31

May 24, 2015

70 or 80 – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away. Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10-12)

David was the author of most of the Psalms but not all. Moses wrote these words near the end of his life. He lived 120 years but did not accomplish all he intended to do. He was close enough to see the promised land but died short of his goal.

“So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day. Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.” (Deuteronomy 34:5-7)

Moses was twice as old as all the rest of the people of Israel (except Caleb and Joshua). Those who had been over 20 at the beginning of the 40-year wilderness wanderings, had died there, and so there were no others over 60 years old.

“your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your  numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. ‘ Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey — I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. … ‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition.” (Numbers 14:28-34)

Those whose hearts are centered only on the here and now, bemoan the tragedies of life and may even blame God. Moses thought differently. He yielded his feeble comprehension to the majesty of the infinite Creator.

Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?” (Psalm 90:11)

Before the flood mankind had lived much older. Adam died at 930 and Noah at 950, but then Shem only lived to 600, and Abraham died at 175 years of age. By Moses’ time he indicates that the normal lifespan was down to 70 or 80 years.

We believe we have learned more about nutrition and have so much greater knowledge of how enhance the health of our bodies than those “primitive” people who lived over 3,000 years ago. Some doctors seem to think they have progressed God-like capabilities. We are reminded of the words of Moses, “their pride is but labor and sorrow;” In spite of evolutionary propaganda imagining everything better and better, the Biblical record proves that life expectancy figures have remained about the same. The vaunted powers of the gerontologists appear to be helpless to do anything about it. No matter how much we try to prolong our lives, as Moses said, “soon it is gone…”

But then, “we fly away”! The eternal soul of the blood bought Christian is released from its weary body, and flies away to be with the Lord.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. …I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;”  (Philippians 1:21-23)

As the time of our departure grows nearer, it is more important than ever that we…

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5)

The prayer Moses prayed is just as appropriate today, for all Christians.

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

May 10, 2015

Honor Women – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

It is the custom of many Americans to honor mothers on this day. This is more than just a nice custom. Honor for women is required by God.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul quotes from the ten commandments given to Israel, written by His own finger, when he commands Corinthian Christians to, “HONOR YOUR…MOTHER…” (Ephesians 6:2)

Similarly Peter commands Christian husbands regarding their wives,

“…since she is a woman…show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life…” (I Peter 3:7 NASV).

The NLT expresses God’s view this way: “she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. …”

Can anyone fail to see the contrast between this view of women and that commanded by Mohammed?

“Men are superior to women on account of the qualities with which God has gifted the one above the other, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them. Virtuous women are obedient, careful, during the husband’s absence, because God has of them been careful. But chide those for whose refractoriness you have cause to fear; remove them into beds apart, and scourge them: but if they are obedient to you, then seek not occasion against them: verily, God is High, Great!” (Koran, Quran, 4:34)

While many Muslim men treat their wives with honor, it would appear that such conduct is in spite of instruction from the Quran, not because of it.

In his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress (1675) John Bunyan erroneously distorts some Biblical pictures but accurately perceives and properly portrays the role of women that he learned from the Bible.

“Gaius also proceeded and said, “I will now speak on the behalf of women, to take away their reproach. For as death and the curse came into the world by a woman, so also did life and health: “God sent forth His Son made of a woman…”

“I do not read that any man ever gave unto Christ so much as one goat; but the women followed Him and ministered to Him of their substance. ‘Twas a woman that washed His feet with tears, and a woman that anointed His body to the burial. They were women that wept when He was going to the cross; and women that followed Him from the cross, and that sat by His sepulcher when He was buried. They were women that were first with Him at His resurrection-morn, and women that first brought tidings to the disciples that He was risen from the dead. Women, therefore, are highly favored; and show by these things that they are sharers with us in the grace of life.”

May 3, 2015

Wise Words About Foolishness – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,

But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

Most of us think “ethnic” jokes are funny. Have you ever thought about why? Could it be that our own self-satisfied pride enjoys pointing out the foolishness of others? There may also be a positive element, illustrating examples of conduct we should avoid.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about foolish people, with a view to teaching wisdom. About ten different Hebrew words are used in this book that translate as “fools,” “foolishness,” etc., and such words occur almost 100 times in that one book. It is interesting that the wisest man who ever lived had more to say about fools than did anyone else. Perhaps we get insight into why when we realize he used the words “wise,” “wisdom,” etc., at least 125 times.

We began with a verse that speaks of both a wise man and a fool, contrasting the self-satisfied fool with the humble wise man who listens to the advice of others. Such contrasts are abundant in Solomon’s proverbs. Consider a few examples of wise words about foolishness.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? “ (Proverbs 1:22)

The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.” (Proverbs 3:35)

“O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom.” (Proverbs 8:5)

The wise of heart will receive commands, But a babbling fool will be ruined.” (Proverbs 10:8)

“He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18)

“The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.” (Proverbs 10:21)

He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (13:20 )

A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:6-7)

“Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is good will.” (Proverbs 14:9)

A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” (Proverbs 14:16)

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;” (Proverbs 17:28)

A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.” (Proverbs 18:2)

“Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, But any fool will quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3)

“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)

“A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.” (Proverbs 27:3)

“Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.” (Proverbs 27:22)

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26)