September 16, 2018

Two Men Try To Worship – Bill Hall

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Worship under the best of conditions can sometimes be difficult. Distractions, human error, and sometimes funny situations can occur to take one’s attention away from the Lord. Attitudes, however, can prove to be a major factor in acceptable (or non-acceptable) worship.

For instance …

Two men sincerely try to worship. The first man, though, is frustrated throughout. His frustrations begin with the opening announcements when the man in charge takes ten minutes to say what any normal man could say in three. He is hardly over that when the song leader adds to his frustrations, selecting a song he is sure contains an unscriptural phrase. The man who presides at the table doesn’t help when he uses the term “loaf” instead of “bread,” and then the man who is called on to “give thanks for the bread” gives thanks for everything but the bread. The preacher makes a major contribution by totally misapplying a passage of scripture (“He probably didn’t spend enough time on that one,” the man thinks). When the worship period is finally dismissed, he tries to share his frustrations with those around him, but no one seems to care.

The second man observes many of the mistakes the first man observes. In fact, without fanfare he just doesn’t sing the questionable phrase in the song and he silently thanks God for the bread when he realizes the leader’s failure to do so. But while observing mistakes, he focuses attention on the good sentiments of the songs that are used, and on the death of his Savior during the Lord’s Supper. He makes the prayer that is led his own and appreciates the good thoughts presented in the lesson. He has come to worship God. He makes allowances for human frailty on the part of the leaders in worship, appreciates their sincere efforts, and refuses to let their mistakes keep him from his purpose.

The first man is to be pitied. His ability to “worship” is dependent on the ability of the leaders in the worship period, and any half-observant person knows how inept that leadership can be at times. He comes to worship, but spends the hour criticizing. He blames others for that which is really his own problem. Consequently, his problem with worship becomes a problem also with his brethren; but one cannot have a problem with his worship and his brethren without having a problem in his relationship with God.

The second man, by maintaining a positive attitude toward his brethren, even when they make mistakes, is able to worship acceptably and is drawn closer to God by his worship. We are not condoning sloppily conducted worship periods. Leaders in worship should seek to avoid mistakes and to do their work effectively. But acceptable worship depends far more on the heart and attitude of the worshiper than on the abilities of leaders. Our first man may point the finger of blame at others, but his real need is a total change of attitude within himself.

(It is obvious to me that that the attitude of the “second worshiper” is the prevailing attitude of the brethren here at Hot Springs. We are thankful for, and deeply appreciate that. Nevertheless, all of us are tempted to drift from time to time. Please consider the insightful thoughts by brother Hall, examine our own hearts and renew our resolve to worship acceptably, with reverence and awe. DRP)

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1)           

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;…Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach…”(Philippians 2:1-3,14-15)

 

 

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September 9, 2018

Make IT As Sure As You Can – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Pilate said to them, “Take a guard of soldiers. Go and make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the soldiers of the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.” (Matt. 27:65-66)

Pilate had endured many different, disturbing experiences leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. Both he and some close to him had wanted to release Him, finding no fault in Him.

“As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.” (Matt. 27:19)

“He asked, ‘Why? What wrong has he done?’ But they shouted more insistently, ‘Crucify him!’” (Matt. 27:23)

We wonder about the inner struggles of Pilate. His own wife had interrupted his judicial proceedings with an urgent, conscious appeal. He was the proud representative of Roman justice. He listened to the shameful accusations and was likely very aware they stemmed from envy.

But, the mob was unhappy. They were shouting their displeasure. (sound familiar?) “Come let us reason together” is crushed by “survival of the loudest.” Noble Roman justice folded. Known injustice prevailed. Political expediency ruled. Pilate determined to pacify the Jewish leaders and quell a riot, ignobly agreeing to the execution of an innocent man.

But once Christ was dead and in the grave, Pilate’s tormenting troubles did not end. I would like to know what he was thinking when said, “make it as sure as you can.” I wonder.

Fear of the promised resurrection? Would prove his injustice.

Maybe a guard could prevent his fears from becoming reality.

Fear the promise would appear to be fulfilled by theft of the body?

Sarcasm ridicule? Now He is dead. What could a dead man do?

Sarcastic fear of the inevitable? Guard the tomb if you want.

From our perspective, however, we can see divine irony in these words. Satan had seemingly won a great victory at the cross, for the Heir had been slain. Therefore, the one thing Satan had to prevent to secure his victory was the resurrection. The purpose Christ’s coming depended on His victory over death. This is the keystone. Without it, all fails. With it all is proven true.

Note the limitation in the words “as sure as you can.” How tightly sealed and well-guarded must a tomb be to contain the Creator of all things? If His purpose was to die and rise from the dead, would man’s or Satan’s efforts be able to thwart it? “As sure as you can” was surely not sure enough!

Today we know that the tomb’s sealed entrance was breached, not so much to allow Him out (walked through closed doors, John 20:19) but to allow us to see the empty inside. Satan’s henchmen still deny the resurrection, but their efforts are just as futile as those who tried to keep Him inside. The fact remains, He left the tomb, triumphantly proving and offering eternal life.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

September 2, 2018

“You Must Memorize It” By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

That Joshua had a big job on his shoulders is a huge understatement. The momentous job of leading God’s people into the divinely chosen land of promise (full of giants and walled cities) had now fallen on Joshua’s shoulders.

 

The typical modern-day reporter, trained in humanistic philosophy would ask, “Joshua, how do you feel about that? Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel adequate for the job?” Most reporters are oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t matter how he felt about it. When God said do it, feelings are immaterial. It’s time to “Get ‘er done.” Three times in three verses God commands Joshua…

“Be strong and courageous.”

(Joshua 1:6, 7, 9.)

That should be clear enough, but how do you do that? How do you fearlessly succeed (where Moses had failed) in accomplishing a task that seems impossible? It is typical of God’s always practical directions to include “how to” instructions. God instructs…

“This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful…” (Joshua 1:8 NET)

This divine directive contains the first use of the Hebrew verb for “memorize,” (hagah), often translated “meditate.”

The Theological Lexicon Of the Old Testament says the word translated “memorize” or “meditate” means:

“to remember,” is the basic meaning… memory, mention, name”

Joshua is commanded to “remember,” to “memorize,” “meditate” on the Scriptures. The word has nothing to do with daydreaming, or contemplating your navel, but is remembering with a purpose…“so you can carefully obey all that is written in it.

David got it. Using the same word he says:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,” (Psa. 63:6)

“I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:” (Psa. 77:6)

“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. (Psa. 143:5)

Memorizing or meditation to show off or as an end in itself is often useless or even harmful. Witness the Western proliferation of Eastern “meditation cults” (T.M., etc.) in recent years, which lead their devotees into pantheism and occultism.

God’s prophet warns against those who…“Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” (same word). Then he admonishes, “should not a people consult their God?” (Isaiah 8:19). It’s not about how it makes you feel. It’s about filling ourselves with God’s word, His wisdom.

David condemns those who “…imagine [same word again] a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1). He understands that the blessed man is the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2).

In other words, if we fill ourselves with and are continually guided by the Holy Scriptures will we be happy and successful.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for meditate” (melatao) is used only twice. Once, it is translated “imagine” (Acts 4:25) and is in a quotation of Psalm 2, as above. The last time it is used, however, its emphasis reverts back to the context of its first usage, as in our text above. Paul instructs (according to the NKJV)…

“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. …Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NKJV)

Or…

“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. …Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NLT).

The modern fad promises wonderful benefits from the goal of meditation to, “clear our minds of things,” but God wants us to “meditate on or to memorize these things,” the life-giving, life-directing doctrines of His Word. The world’s humanistic, temporally centered counsel is worse than useless. God’s divine wisdom is different and is accompanied by God’s realistic promise…“for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8.