January 20, 2019

The Authority To Edify – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

     The Authority To Edify

       Don R. Patton

“Because of this I am writing these things while absent, so that when I arrive I may not have to deal harshly with you by using my authority—the Lord gave it to me for building up, not for tearing down!” (II Cor.13:10 NET)

Paul is teaching the Corinthians about “building up” the church and about the different building tools used for accomplishing that end. He often spoke of “gentleness.” (II Tim. 2:25) In the above passage, He speaks of dealing harshly. God has given authority for both. Both are for edification.

He had just explained the reason for the possible need of harshness.

“For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;…” (II Corinthians 12:20

Therefore, he warns, “…if I come again I will not spare anyone,” (II Corinthians 13:2) The reason, this conduct hinders the building of the church.

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. … And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:16, 18)

The Greek word “οἰκοδομή” (translated “edification”) pictures the building of a house.

“1. process of building, building, construction

  1. a building as result of a construction process, building, edifice… The builders, the masons (after Ps 117:22) Matt 21:42″ BDAG

The same word is used in Matt. 21:42.

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone…”

We still use the word edifice to describe an imposing structure. Paul specifically said there was divine “authority” to edify, here referring to harshness. Later he called himself a “wise master-builder.” Paul used the Greek word ἀρχιτέκτων. When transliterated we have “architektōn,” from which we get architect. Paul laid the foundation on which we are to build (I Corinthians 3:10).

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.” (I Corinthians 3:10)

When Jesus used the same word, “οἰκοδομή,” to depict those who would build their house on a rock (His Word) or the sand (the ideas of men), He was painting a picture, not only of initially coming to Christ, but also of building (edifying) the coming church (Luke 6:48-49). The various gifts of leadership are to be used to “perfect” the saints in the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), using the living “stones” that will build the “spiritual house” of God (I Peter 2:5).

And like any good builder, the Christian carpenter has tools of the trade to assist the process. There are “things which make for peace” that must be employed (Romans 14:19). While our text refers to harshness, most certainly “love edifies.” (I Corinthians 8:1) It a major tool along with Godly communication that does not “corrupt” the building work.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification” (Ephesians 4:29)

Paul commanded the church at Corinth to, “…Let all things be done for edification.” (I Corinthians 14:26) Luke reveals, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord.” (Acts 9:31

 

 

 

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January 13, 2019

“Beginning Of The Year – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Now pay attention to all the commandments I am giving you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, and that you may enjoy long life in the land the LORD promised to give to your ancestors and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. For the land where you are headed is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand like a vegetable garden. Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, a land the LORD your God looks after. He is constantly attentive to it from the beginning to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:8-12)

The phrase, “the beginning of the year,” occurs only twice in the Bible, here in Deuteronomy 11:12 and in Ezekiel 40:1. The Bible is not referring to January 1, but to the month Abib, in the spring, just before Passover.

“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” (Deuteronomy 16:1)

“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2)

Moses is reminding Israel that their blessings depend on God’s favor and that favor depends on paying attention to all His commandments, all the time. This is one of the most obvious and powerful lessons to be learned from God’s dealing with Israel.

In this passage, the Lord, through Moses, is speaking of the “promised” land, which He had prepared for the children of Israel. It was “a land flowing with milk and honey,” a phrase used eight times to describe a fertile, generously productive land. It was not like Egypt, which receives its produce from the overflowing Nile. Instead, this was “a land that drinks in water from the rains, a land the LORD your God looks after.” It required God’s constant, continual attention. This promised land was promised God’s blessings if they obeyed God. It was promised God’s judgment if they disobeyed.

“When Lot was choosing his portion of the land we read, “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere — …like the garden of the LORD…”

This is the way it was, a paradise, like the Garden of Eden. Today it is a desert land, a pile of rocks. It takes a proud, blind prejudice to ignore the contrast. God’s repeated warnings have been dramatically fulfilled.

‘Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me… ‘I will make the land desolate … I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.” (Leviticus 26:27, 32-33)

God has withdrawn His attentive care, on which Israel’s “water from the rains” depends. It does rain in Israel, only in the winter, when they don’t need it.

Although these promises were made specifically with reference to Israel, blessings of a covenant relationship with God are now extended to individuals of “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), including America. God has certainly blessed our nation most abundantly, founded as it was in its beginnings on the principles of God’s words. Sadly, however, there may be indications that His blessings are being withdrawn. Apostasy dominates religious service and moral decay has overtaken us. Could His judgment be on the way?

Here, at “the beginning of the year,” let us resolve pray and work to bring America back to the God of our fathers before it is too late and final judgment falls on our once-blessed nation. Our text reminds, “He is constantly attentive…from the beginning to the end of the year.”

Adapted from some thoughts expressed by Henry Morris

 

 

 

 

 

January 6, 2019

Deceptive “False Wonders” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. (Exodus 7:12)

Magicians go back a long way in the history of mankind. Man has been aspiring to be like God since the Garden of Eden. The desire to have an audience ooh and awe is certainly not new nor unfamiliar today. These magicians were con men, who had apparently convinced Pharaoh that their supernatural power was superior to the representatives of any Israelite God. Paul does tell us of the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness…” (II Thessalonians 2:10). However, on this occasion, while we are not given all the details we may desire, I believe there is good reason to believe they had no supernatural power (demonic or otherwise). I acknowledge that I am influenced by my experience performing as a magician in my younger days. I am very much aware of the amazing deception that can be produced, all perfectly natural. The purpose of the power given to Moses was to provide persuasive evidence that the message from Moses and Aaron was from the only real God. Those who claimed similar credentials, with a different message were frauds. Neither men nor demons can really create life; this is a prerogative of God alone, who “created every living creature.” (Genesis 1:21) However, human magicians can effectively deceive people into thinking that they can do what God alone can do.

It is interesting to notice that when their fraudulent performance was over, nothing was left. Even their rods (not “serpents”) were gone. Aaron’s supernaturally produced genuine serpent had made a meal of them. This was a true miracle of creation. Aaron’s God had transmuted the dead atoms of a wooden stick (just as He later made it to produce blossoms and almonds, Numbers 17:8) into a living serpent, capable of consuming other sticks that only appeared to be serpents.

The deception of the magicians was unmistakably revealed when, later, they were unable provide an imitation of Moses’ miracle of turning dust into lice throughout the land of Egypt.

“The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.'” (Exodus 8:18-19).

Egypt’s greatest experts of deception would know. This was not like their deception. The evidence was so convincing, that even the professionally dishonest admitted, this is really from God. And, by implication, “Our performance is not the finger of God.” Wow! That’s powerful evidence.

Interestingly, many scientists believed for many centuries that a similar phenomena—which they called “spontaneous generation”— occurred naturalistically. “Maggots appeared on rotting meat, so this is how maggots originate.” They believed microbes would naturally develop in milk from nothing. These foolish notions were scientifically demolished, demonstrated to be false by Pasteur and Redi over a hundred years ago. They were Creationists who understood that life only comes from life, which only comes from God. They understood that only the living God can create life!
The miracle of Aaron’s rod can also be viewed as an amazing antitype, an occurrence in the Old Testament that foreshadows the type, the reality fulfilled in the New Testament. Aaron’s rod of life took on the nature of the serpent, just as Christ was made sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21). But then it swallowed up the other serpent-rods, and the sting of “that old serpent” was put away. Thus, “death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?” (I Corinthians 15:54-55). Only the real God can foresee and plan in this way.

“I am God, and there is none like me, who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred, who says, ‘My plan will be realized…” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Several of these thoughts were adapted from ideas

expressed by Henry Morris

 

 

December 30, 2018

Joy and Gladness – Curtis E. Flatt

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Joy and Gladness

In Luke 1:14 Zacharias was told that Elizabeth would bear a son and that he would, as a result, have joy and gladness. This combination of words joy and gladness was often used in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 35:10 they are used to describe the joyful flourishing of the kingdom of God or the church which was to come. This son of joy and gladness was born and came announcing that the kingdom of God was at hand. (Matthew 3:2) This is certainly a New Testament theme, for the word joy in its various forms is found nearly a hundred times in the New Testament. Those of us who are in the church apparently sometimes fail to find or else we forget the joy and gladness of being a part of the redeemed.

No Joy And Gladness

There are things in which people should find no joy and gladness. So often people find joy and gladness in sin. This is no strange thing, for sin has its attractions, for sure. (1 John 2:15-17) But this which seems to be of joy and gladness finally leads to destruction. We must not find joy and gladness in doing our own thing as did the Israelites when they made their golden calf. (Acts 7:41) Innovations in worship bring joy and gladness to many, but there will be sorrow one day because of them. (Matthew 7:23)

Many Things Of Joy and Gladness

There are many things in which people should have joy and gladness even though they may not recognize their attractions.

Here is contained a number of these as found in the New Testament.

  1. People ought to have joy and gladness in the temporal things God prepared, i.e., rain from heaven and fruitful seasons. (Acts 14:17). However, there are other things of much more importance to bring joy and gladness.
  2. People ought to have joy and gladness in that they have opportunity to hear the gospel—the good news. When the man of Ethiopia heard the gospel, he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:39) This was because he had found something of great importance to fill him with joy and gladness. So many miss this entirely.
  3. People ought to have joy and gladness in that through this gospel they can be in Christ. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Philippians 3:1) Herein is reason for joy and gladness for it is here (in Christ) where all spiritual blessings are available. (Ephesians 1:3) This reminds us of the importance of baptism for it is by and through baptism that people get into Christ. (Galatians 3:26,27). None are in Christ who have not been baptized correctly.
  4. People should have joy and gladness in the hope which is in Christ. (Hebrews 3.6) Nothing is so saddening as to see our loved one die without the hope which is in Christ. On the other hand, nothing fills the soul of the mourner with joy and gladness like hope. Hope is one of the abiding things. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ….” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
  5. It should also be noticed that people should have joy and gladness in the opportunity to worship God. Even though the psalmist did not have all the advantages people have in Christ, he experienced joy and gladness in worship: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1) There is but little doubt, if any, that he was talking about worship. I may be a poor judge, but I fail to detect this joy and gladness on the part of many when it comes to worshipping God. Have we missed something?
    1. In view of all of this, is it any wonder that when Christians have to suffer for right that the New Testament teaches that they should suffer with joy and gladness? The New Testament does teach that. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” There is so much meaning in the song we sing:

    Tho’ your heart may be heavy with sorrow and care,

    You may others to gladness beguile,

    If a face like the light of the morning you wear,

    And carry your cross with a smile!

    For the work that you willingly, faithfully do,

    You shall reap a reward after while;

    Only grace in your service can glorify you,

    So carry your cross with a smile.

    We conclude with David’s statement to which Peter referred in Acts 2:26:”Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:8) “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at the right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

     

 

 

December 23, 2018

Lay Up Treasures – Author Unknown

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

One of the most common struggles people have in their giving decisions is an uneasy sense of loss at what is given away. Some feel if they give, they will become poorer while the recipient becomes richer. Instead of giving with a cheerful heart for the Lord’s work (II Corinthians 9:7), the giver often weighs the cost of giving based on how much they feel they can afford to lose. The question “How much poorer am I willing to be?” becomes the determining factor in deciding how much they want to give.

Ironically, almost none of us feel poorer when we put money aside for retirement, invest in stock, or make a house payment. On the contrary, we feel financially more secure by doing so, even though our net worth hasn’t changed. We understand we’ve simply transferred a portion of our resources into a different asset that will be beneficial in the future.

Scripture teaches a similar approach but with a completely opposite focus. To begin with, you and I don’t really “own” anything. If God created the world, He is the sole and

rightful owner of the entire cosmos. Everything that exists comes from the God who “gives to all life, breath, and all things,” (Acts 17:25). But we are God’s stewards (Genesis 1:28). God has temporarily entrusted a portion of His resources into our care to accomplish His work here on Earth. And as the great Creator-Owner, God is just and right to expect an accounting one day (I Corinthians 3:10-15).

But a marvelous part of the message of Scripture is that we are privileged to participate with God as His “fellow workers” (I Corinthians 3:9). And as co-laborers with God, we are promised great rewards for the work we do for Him. The Lord Jesus said as much when He counseled the disciples to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20), which Paul echoed when he commanded rich believers to be “ready to give, willing to share” in order to store up “for themselves a good foundation for the time to come” (I Timothy 6:18-19).

Notice that these “treasures” and “good foundations” are not being deposited in heaven for God, or for the poor and needy, or even for the lost—they are for us. We are not losing anything when we give to God’s work but are simply transferring available “assets” into an account that will pay everlasting dividends.

In view of these passages, feeling poorer when we give to the Lord’s work is just flat-out wrong! Rather, we are blessed and far richer when we give because we have willingly transferred some of our God-given resources into the heavenly account that will be waiting for us when we “retire” from this life.

 

December 16, 2018

God’s Ways Are Best – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (I Kings 17:8-9)

The “what” and the “why” of God’s requirements for our lives are often puzzling to us. We scratch our heads and think, “That makes no sense at all.” Of course, we are wrong, not because we see the sense, but because we know the source.

We should not be the least bit surprised that the Creator’s thinking is different from our own. God’s will and purpose is far beyond ours and is infinitely wise. It is perfect. How arrogant to imagine that we are qualified to sit in judgment.

Elijah had been supernaturally guided to safety and fed by ravens until the brook of Cherith dried up, due to the very drought Elijah had prophesied. Then, instead of supernaturally providing water into the dry stream, God told Elijah to move to a village in Zidon (of all places) to stay with a rich benefactor….poor widow who would feed him.

Recall that James reminds us, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…” James 5:17). He got discouraged and disillusioned as we do. How would you react to God’s plan? It’s not difficult to imagine Elijah thinking sarcastically, “Oh, now I understand. That makes perfect sense.” Zidon was the home of Elijah’s sworn enemy, the infamous idolater, murdering queen Jezebel.

“Now, Elijah (after your magnificent victory on Mt. Carmel) you are to humble yourself, asking a non-Jewish stranger, a poor starving widow with a dependent son, to give to you what she thinks will be her last meal. This is your plan for survival. Go for it.”

Elijah obeyed. So did the widow of Zarephath. The result? Foolish embarrassment? Disaster? Absolutely not.

God was able to meet the spiritual, as well as the physical needs, of this unlikely duo — the greatest spiritual leader of his age and an apparently insignificant widow. An amazing daily miracle of continuing creation of oil and meal took place as long as the drought continued. And then an even more astounding miracle was performed. For the first time in all history, so far as the record goes, one who was dead (the widow’s son) was restored to life (I Kings 17:20-24). God determined to perform two of His mightiest miracles and then demonstrate the divinely designed, appropriate, response…faith.

Faith was produced in the heart of a foreign stranger. She came to believe that Jehovah was the true God, not by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, not even by the testimony of the written word (as is often the case). Rather, faith came into her heart by honestly evaluating the evidence, facts that could be reasonably explained only by a supernatural God.

“Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” (I Kings 17:24)

God’s ways are certainly not our ways, but they are always best. May He give us the determination to always obey His word, whether we fully understand, or not.

 

 

December 9, 2018

Humble Submission To God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Perhaps the greatest challenge to producing submission to God’s will, in ourselves or others, is realizing that our own wisdom is not ours, but a gift and it is pitifully inferior to the much higher, infinite wisdom of God. If that understanding is impressed on our heart, then humble submission follows easily. If, on the other hand, we think we are pretty wise, submission will be difficult.

A powerful illustration of that lesson is seen in Daniel chapter two.

“In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams. His mind was disturbed and he suffered from insomnia. The king issued an order to summon the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men in order to explain his dreams to him. So they came and awaited the king’s instructions.” (Daniel 2:1-2)

The “wise men” of Babylon claimed great wisdom. The king was not so sure and devised a means of testing their pompous assertions.

The king effectively said. “You claim to be all-wise?” “Let’s see about that.”

“The king told them, ‘I have had a dream, and I am anxious to understand the dream.’ The wise men replied to the king: “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its interpretation.”

The king effectively said. “You claim to be all-wise?” “Let’s see about that.”

“The king replied to the wise men, “My decision is firm. If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered and your homes reduced to rubble! But if you can disclose the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, a reward, and considerable honor. So disclose to me the dream and its interpretation!” (Daniel 2:3-6)

They complained about the test, because it did test and exposed their foolishness. “The wise men replied to the king, “There is no man on earth who is able to disclose the king’s secret,…” (Daniel 2:10). Of course, they were right, but simply telling the dream would be nothing, if they could truly interpret the dream. The king demonstrated they could do neither.

The king replied, “I know for sure that you are attempting to gain time, because you see that my decision is firm. If you don’t inform me of the dream, there is only one thing that is going to happen to you. For you have agreed among yourselves to report to me something false and deceitful…” (Daniel 2:8-9)

The wise men were frauds, perhaps even deceiving themselves as do many today who claim to know the wise course, even when God says otherwise. “You think we should do what?” “That makes no sense,” (per my wisdom). When the one who spoke the universe into existence speaks, it is time to dump our pitiful ideas and say, “Yes sir.”

But we think that really seems dumb. “I think it would be much wiser to do it my way.” It is time to remember who we are, who God is and bow our heads in humble submission.

Daniel knew he was not the source of wisdom but that God revealed answers.

Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel praised the God of heaven, saying, ‘Let the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. …He gives wisdom to the wise; he imparts knowledge to those with understanding;'” (Daniel 2:19-21)

Wisdom is from God. In the Lord Jesus Christ …are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3). The wisdom God revealed in Christ, is both omniscient and omnipotent. True wisdom must come from Him.

Therefore, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5).

Daniel was speaking to the most powerful monarch on Earth, with access to all the wisdom of the most highly educated men of the age. But human wisdom could not solve his problem. Only Daniel, drawing on the wisdom and power of the God of creation, could meet his need. God’s servants, even today, have this privilege and responsibility, because our God is “for ever and ever.”

 

 

 

December 2, 2018

Giving Thanks For Christian Friends -Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, (I Thessalonians 1:2-3 NET).

When we rationally consider how helpless we are without God’s blessings, it becomes obvious that it is irrational to fail to be thankful. If we understand that our blessings come from God, it is certainly appropriate to express thanks for our daily bread, whether in private, at a family meal, or in public at a fine restaurant. In fact, Jesus set the example. When He miraculously fed the multitude beside the Sea of Galilee, He began with a prayer of thanksgiving:

he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks, he broke them and began giving them to the disciples, who then gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. (Matthew 15:36-37)

If we should give thanks for our food and shelter and clothing, then it certainly stands to reason that the blessing of having Christian friends is even more worthy of thanksgiving. Paul thought so and set an example we should follow.

The first letter to the Thessalonians was possibly Paul’s first inspired letter to Christian friends, and Paul began with the expression of thankfulness to God for them (see text above).

Consider the similar beginning of Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3)

Likewise, his letter to the Colossians started with thanksgiving:

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;” (Colossians 1:3-4)

He began his epistle to the church at Corinth similarly:

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge,” (I Corinthians 1:4)

Even when writing to the Christians at Rome, brethren he had not yet met personally, he wrote,

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness that I continually remember you, (Romans 1:8-9)

He also thanked God for his personal friends, Timothy and Philemon.

“I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.” (II Timothy 1:3-4)

I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints;” (Philemon 1:4-5)

Throughout our life journey, we develop cherished Christian friends and we should follow Paul’s example, thanking God for all of them. What a marvelous blessing. How fitting it is to be thankful and to express our thankfulness.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

November 25, 2018

Choosing Your Parents – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

On a television show the other day, a man said to his neighbor that she and her husband were such good parents his own kids wanted to be adopted by them!  None of us really get to “choose” our parents, though many of us couldn’t have chosen better that we got.  Others didn’t or don’t do so well in the parental lotto.  It’s OK, remember they didn’t really “pick” us as children either!

But what if we, as adults, got a chance at a do-over; a chance to actually select whom our parents would be for the rest of our lives?   Obviously, this choice would also determine grandparents for our children, and great-grandparents for our grandchildren.  What an opportunity!  We could select, with all the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom we have acquired, the best parents (and thereby grandparents, etc.) available for ourselves, our families, and even future generations.  However, if we were actually given such an opportunity, one of the first things that would likely “hit” us would also be the gravity of such a choice…. the responsibilities involved.  We would be making a choice that would not only dramatically influence the rest our lives, but also those of our descendants.

Genesis 6:2 says “that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”  I realize there are theories that suggest these “sons of God” were angelic beings that chose to cohabitate with the daughters of men” (contrary to what Jesus said about that, cf. Matthew 22:30), but there is a much simpler explanation provided by the context.  Genesis 4 records not only the sin of Cain, but also the sinful legacy continued by his descendants- Lamech was a polygamist, v.19; and evidently a very violent and vengeful man, vv.23-24.  But note that with the birth of Seth (another son of Adam and Eve), and subsequently his son, Enosh, the record says, Then men began to call on the name of the Lord,” v.26.  Thus, the godless lineage of Cain is set in contrast to the godly lineage of Seth.  Genesis 5 continues with the lineage of Seth, and rather than highlighting sinful behavior as had been done in chp.4 with Cain’s descendants, righteousness and godly desires are emphasized, cf. Genesis 5:22-24,29.  All of which brings us to chapter 6, where the “sons of God”- the godly lineage of Seth (cf. Luke 3:38, was corrupted through the “daughters of men”- the godless lineage of Cain, to produce a world that God was willing to destroy with a flood.  Now, with that bit of history clarified, let’s get back to the business of choosing your parents…

Cain and Seth had the same physical parents, but their lives- and that of their descendants, took dramatically different courses.  Why?  Simply put: they chose very different spiritual parents.  Cain chose the path of faithlessness and rebellion, which ultimately led him to go out “from the presence of the Lord,” Genesis 4:16.  He selected Satan as his spiritual father.  But Seth chose differently.  He preferred “to call on the name of the Lord,” Genesis 4:26.  Seth selected God as his spiritual father.  These contrasting selections obviously influenced the courses of their families for generations to come- even to eternal consequences.   So too will the choice of spiritual parentage you and I make.

We can choose to be a “son of the devil,” as did Elymas, and be “full deceit and fraud,” an “enemy of all righteousness” who does “not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord” and in the process turn others “away from the faith,” cf. Acts 13:8,10.  Or, we can opt to be children/sons of God by choosing: to “believe in His name” (John 1:12), through faith be “baptized into Christ” (Galatians 3:26-29), and be “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14-17) to a life of obedience in which we hold “fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16.

You get to decide.  Whom will you pick to be your (spiritual) parent?  The Father of light, love, and salvation, cf. James 1:16-18; or the murderous father of lies, cf. John 8:44?  But remember, choices have consequences.  And this particular choice has eternal consequences not only for you, but perhaps also for those that you love and call “family.”  Pick your parent carefully, won’t you?

(Philip C. Strong; Southport Church of Christ;

7202 Madison Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46227

 

 

 

November 18, 2018

Behold A Baseball Team-Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The following article is adapted from a bulletin I published about fifty years ago (from an anonymous author) DRP

Behold a ball team that went forth to play a game of baseball. Just as the umpire was saying, “Batter up,” the catcher for the home team arrived and took his place behind the plate. The center fielder and the second baseman did not arrive until the second inning.

The first baseman did not come at all, but later sent his regrets, saying he had to go to a birthday party at Aunt Sally’s. The third baseman likewise failed to show up, having been up late the night before and he preferred to spend the day in bed.

The left fielder was at another game across town. The shortstop was present, but left his glove at home. When the pitcher entered the field and walked to the pitcher’s mound, he looked around to see his teammates and lo, his heart was heavy as he saw so many empty places in the lineup.

He tried to recruit some of the regular fans to play but they said they had rather sit back and watch. They complained that they had been attending for years (the best attenders in the league). They said they hadn’t seen many runs scored, but claimed it was not really their job. They considered themselves loyal faithful fans, but had never scored a run in their lives and certainly were not going to start now.

The game had been announced and the visitors were already in the stands to see the game. There was nothing left for him to do but go ahead and pitch and hope for the best. So the pitcher tightened his belt and stepped on the mound.

He did his best to throw a strike over the plate. But for some reason he could not find the strike zone. Some of his teammates began to ride him for the wild pitches, and loud boos began to come from the stands.

This is a humorous, ridiculous picture. But, it is absolutely tragic that is sounds so familiar to Christians. “Behold a preacher that went forth to preach.” Could some churches be similar to this baseball team? Do we need to reconsider our fundamental responsibilities as member of the Lord’s team?

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12)

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

“For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.” (Thessalonians 1:8)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20)

 

 

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