December 27, 2015

“Busy” Is Not A Badge – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Many years ago, a friend kept trying to get me to camp out on the river and fish for a couple of days with him.  As much as I wanted to take him up on the offer, I kept putting him off because I was “just too busy right now.”  In his jovial, teasing manner, he finally replied, “A man that is too busy to fish is just too busy!”  I went and we had a great time.  Since then I’ve adapted his statement somewhat, “A man (or woman) that is too busy to serve the Lord is just too busy!”  And yet, that is exactly where far too many of us find ourselves now- “too busy” for God.

Unfortunately, many of us not only suffer from this self-inflicted malady, we seem to enjoy and relish in it.  We treat “too busy” as some sort of badge of honor– as if it provides evidence of our importance.  Work can’t do without me.  My family needs me.  My civic club or school-support group depends on me.  My social network of friends can’t recreate without me (and I need the “escape” because I’m “so busy” otherwise).  And yet, many of us still manage to convince ourselves, and perhaps even say to others, “God comes first in my life.”  Really?  When He and His only get the left-overs of our time, energy, commitment, emotions, and enthusiasm?  When it comes to God and our relationship to Him and His, “busy” or its relative “just too busy” is not a badge of honor.  Instead, it signifies much less honorable issues like a lack of commitment, priority, dedication, love, and zeal.

Neither is “busy” an acceptable badge of excuse.  Being “just too busy” does not exempt us from responsibilities and duties owed to God, His church (cooperatively), His people (individually), or His purpose.  None of us can legitimately wave a “Busy Badge” before God and be excused from the services of His church, service to His church, or service with His church to His cause.  Even those depicted before Christ in judgment claimed to have been “busy” with deeds done in His name, cf. Matthew 7:22, and yet were denied entrance to heaven.  What do you think will be our fate, when standing before the Righteous Judge, if our defense is that we were “just too busy” to assemble with the saints to worship Him, study our Bibles, encourage fellow Christians, and reach out to the lost with the gospel?  Please consider carefully a few related passages…

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” Mark 12:30.  “But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things (food, shelter, clothing, from vv.25ff, PCS) will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33. “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth,” Colossians 3:1-2.

Our society has become inundated with “busy” people- folks that are “just too busy” for the Lord, His church, and His cause.  Don’t be one of them!  You (and we) can do Better!

You can love God with your all!  You can make His kingdom and His righteousness first in your life!  You can set your mind on spiritual and heavenly rather than earthly and temporal things!  How so?

  1. Make a decision that no thing and no one will be allowed to come before God and His interests. As much as is physically possible, work, family, and social or recreational activities will not be allowed to come before Him, or between you and Him.
  2. Set aside time each day (before the day’s other activities begin, and/or after they conclude if nothing else) to be with God in prayer and in study of His word.  You must make time to communicate with God in prayer, and allow Him to communicate with you through His word.
  3. Determine to be with God’s people every time they assemble to worship Him or study His word. You’ll need this support, and they need it from you.
  4. Stick to it, and don’t back up or back down.  Consistency and endurance are keys to breaking the “just too busy” habit.

Jesus Christ wants to save your soul.  God wants to have a spiritually healthy relationship with you.  The Holy Spirit wants to guide you through life by the Word.  But They will not do so if you’re “just too busy” to make Them THE priority of your life.

 

 

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December 20, 2015

You Followed … Continue – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:10-17)

There are many oft-quoted truths that stand like giant redwoods in the expansive forest of truth quoted above. It is easy to be intrigued by the wonders of a single tree, while missing the awesome power of the expansive forest.

A view from the overlook reveals that Paul is encouraging young Timothy by reminding him of all that had been endured in their struggle thus far, warning him of certain challenging dangers ahead and effectively admonishing him to follow that same noble course without deviation, using the Divine, all-powerful means that enable him to continue, regardless.

Paul’s example (“teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings”) was a hard act to follow, but Timothy had done it. (“you followed”) It was really tough, but no more or less than Christians ought to expect. All godly Christians should expect to follow. (But not godly Christians today….You think?)

“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17)

“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example…” (II Thessalonians 3:7)

“… in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.” (II Thessalonians 3:9)

Then Paul added, “Timothy, I understand that evil men have made the going extremely difficult, but cheer up. At least it’s going to get worse.” This is encouragement? It is if you are forewarned, together with the expectation that you are able and you must continue. Others that you thought would stand, will tremble and flee, perhaps compromise, or even surrender to such powerful and persuasive deceivers, but not you, Timothy. You must stay the course. Continue!

“Do not allow yourself to stray off course. You know what you have been taught. You have full assurance from the sacred writings you learned and know well. Yes, the winds are blowing, but you must not drift to the right or left. Continue!”

“You have a Divinely perfect chart and compass. You know how to use them. With them you have everything you need to safely navigate the dangerous shoals and arrive safely home. ”But this very influential man said, “This way is just as good or better.” Ignore it. Continue.

Timothy had an encouraging example to follow, who was, himself, following a perfect example. Paul was awaiting execution in a Roman dungeon. Even as he wrote, he still requested his books and parchments. (II Timothy 4:13) May God enable us also to follow and to continue.

 

 

 

 

December 13, 2015

The Planned Death of Jesus – Tom Rose

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

One of the ways in which pseudo-scholars, critics, and skeptics attack our Lord is by denying that His sufferings were planned and purposeful. His death, they insist, resulted from a miscalculation; it was a noble attempt to bring goodness into the world, but ended in an unplanned disaster. But nothing could be further from the truth. The whole trajectory of His life was prophesied 700 years before and included every aspect of His career as the Messiah, Servant of Jehovah in the book of Isaiah. Indeed, He came into the world “not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me” (John 6:38)…and the Father’s will was for Him to die. Jesus was not a well-intentioned victim of a plan that surprised Him when it went horribly wrong. No, He knew exactly how His life would end, down to the minutest detail, and had known it since before the foundation of the world when the plan of salvation was formed.

Luke 18:31-34 is the third and most complete of Christ’s specific predictions concerning His death as recorded by Luke—the first is found in Luke 9:21-22; and the second in Luke 9:44. Jesus was on His final journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.  So that there would be no misunderstanding, He takes the twelve aside to remind them, with specific details, what was about to happen to Him was God’s plan. Yet, despite Jesus’ clear teaching, the disciples failed to perceive the meaning of what He had taught them. The threefold repetition in v. 34 says, 1) they understood none of these things, 2) this saying was hidden from them; and 3) they did not know the things that were spoken.

But there was a perfectly good reason that the disciples failed to grasp the Lord’s teaching about His suffering and death; it failed to fit their messianic theology. They expected the Messiah to be a king, who would defeat Israel’s enemies and establish His kingdom. They were looking for a coronation, not a crucifixion; for a messiah who killed His enemies, not one who was killed by His own people, and (even more unthinkable) willing to forgive His enemies as they did so. The idea of a crucified Messiah was an absurdity to them; it was so ridiculous that they could not even comprehend it. “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,” wrote Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18. Thus, “Christ crucified” was “to Jews a stumbling block” (v. 23) a massive barrier that they could not get past.

After His resurrection Christ reaffirmed the veracity of the O.T. teachings and gently rebuked two of his disciples, on the road to Emmaus, for their failure to understand it (Luke 24:23-25).

Eventually, His disciples came to understand it, to believe it, and to preach it…beginning in the first century and continuing down to the present time.

Never allow anyone to discount or minimize the importance of the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for as the hymn says, “Without Him, how lost I would be.”

 

December 6, 2015

Mining For Wisdom – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“But wisdom–where does it come from?”

Where is the place of understanding? (Job 28:20 NET)

In one of Job’s dialogues, the ancient patriarch compares his search for spiritual understanding to man’s explorations for metals and precious stones with a description of the work of ancient geologists.

“Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the ground, and rock is poured out as copper. … Far from where people live he sinks a shaft, in places travelers have long forgotten, far from other people he dangles and sways…a place whose stones are sapphires and which contains dust of gold;…On the flinty rock man has set to work with his hand; he has overturned mountains at their bases. He has cut out channels through the rocks; his eyes have spotted every precious thing. He has searched the sources of the rivers and what was hidden he has brought into the light.” (Job 28:1-11 NET)

This description of the work of Job’s contemporaries (perhaps four thousand year ago) sounds perfectly modern, not the work of club wielding cave dwellers.

Job appreciates the effort necessary and the difficulty of finding gold, silver, copper, sapphires. More importantly, Job understands that they all are easier to find and less valuable than true wisdom.

“It cannot be measured out for purchase with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. Neither gold nor crystal can be compared with it, nor can a vase of gold match its worth. Of coral and jasper no mention will be made; the price of wisdom is more than pearls. The topaz of Cush cannot be compared with it; it cannot be purchased with pure gold.” (Job 20:16-19 NET)

Then with the force of the miners pick ax, Job drives his point home.

“But wisdom–where can it be found? Where is the place of understanding? Mankind does not know its place; it cannot be found in the land of the living.” (Job 20:12-13 NET)

“But wisdom–where does it come from? Where is the place of understanding? For it has been hidden from the eyes of every living creature, …it has been concealed.” (Job 20:20-21 NET)

Many a broken prospector has given up in despair, though their faint hope of success is real. Today’s secular philosophers are looking for what is not there, staggering in the empty desert like foolish prospectors, forever searching but not finding.

Perhaps the President or the Prime Minister is a good source. You think? Have you read the news lately? The Apostle Paul says true wisdom is certainly “not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;” (I Corinthians 2:6).

The mine of evolutionary humanism which dominates modern education and “scholarship” will yield only the fool’s gold of “science falsely so called” (I Timothy 6:20 KJV).

Job found true wisdom only through God, and so must we.

“God understands the way to it, and he alone knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and observes everything under the heavens. …And he said to mankind, ‘The fear of the LORD–that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’’’ (Job 20:23-24, 28)

Christians should understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true mother lode, the inexhaustible mine “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

Adapted from an article by Henry M. Morris