Archives for : March2010

Watch your car speed or else!

Did you see this interesting news story about speeders in USA Today?  If not, the link is here:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-30-speeding-cushion_N.htm.  In some cases just 5 miles over the speed limit can now get you a ticket.

Take my “speeding survey” and let others know how you feel about “speeders in a recession.”

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Wheat or weeds

Mt. 13 is a chapter where the Lord gave a number of parables, one of which involved “tares.”

  1. Verse 36 – READ
  2. The explanation of this parable begins with verse 37 – READ

1)      The Lord wants this seed to produce “sons of the kingdom.”

2)      Jesus wants to have faithful followers throughout the world – verse 38 – READ

a)      This parable reminds us of Mk. 16:15 – Jesus said He wanted His word taken to “Every creature.”

b)      Jesus wants to have disciples throughout the entire earth.

3)      We often think about the “seed” as describing the word of God and this is true.

4)      Here the “good seed” describes the “sons of the kingdom.”

5)      Rom. 1:16 says God’s power to salvation is the gospel.

6)      In a sea of sin Jesus wants us to be a bright beacon.

7)      At the end of verse 38 Jesus said there are some “tares” in along with the wheat.

8)      God says there are going to be some “weeds” that try to impact our spiritual life.

a)      As our children go through school they are going to be surrounded by weeds.

b)      Adults will be surrounded by weeds in their places of employment.

c)      Some of our family members may be like weeds.

9)      In the physical realm we can often instantly recognize weeds.

10)   “Tares” (an undesirable crop) were planted along with the good crop.

11)  This reminds us that Satan seeks to surround Christians with weeds and he does.

12)  One of Satan’s tactics is trying to fill the earth with weeds.

13)  Verse 26 – READ

14)  In life there are times in life when we can’t pull out a weed because it will destroy a plant.

a)      Verse 39 – READ

b)      Weeds come from the devil and he is always trying to plant a new crop of weeds.

2)      There are consequences for this becoming involved with weeds – verse 40 – READ .

a)      God knows about all the “weeds” in life.

b)      At the proper time God will destroy each and every weed.

c)      Jesus said this will happen at the “end of the world” – verse 40 – READ

d)     Verse 41 even uses the word “all” – READ

3)      In eternity God will have a “weed free” kingdom.

4)      There will not be a single “weed” in heaven.

a)      If we are not a “son of God” (a child of God), we are like a weed.

b)      We may not be like the biggest weed or like the ugliest weed.

c)      All that we need to miss out on heaven is to fall into the “weed category.”

5)      All who are categorized in this way are going to have a very bad ending – verse 42 – READ

6)      Since we know what will happen to people who did not choose to please God, what about others?

7)      Verse 43 – READ

Study To Shew Thyself Approved

Most of our readers are probably aware of Paul’s admonition to Timothy (KJV): “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).   Strictly speaking, the Greek word that has been translated “study” (spoudazo) means “to make effort, be prompt or earnest…diligence, be diligent, endeavour, labour” (Strong).  It means “to hasten, make haste” (Thayer).  The word was used in ancient military literature to compliment a soldier who followed his orders out of more than a sense of duty or obligation, but because the warrior was convinced that the fight was worth the sacrifice.  He not only followed his orders but he believed in them.  Of the infantry man who gave his all in the line of fire, it was said he had spoudason.  He was intensely in pursuit of his objective.   The King James translators selected the word “study” in view of the closing words of the verse: “rightly dividing the word of truth.”  It seems rather obvious that in order for someone to “rightly divide the word of truth” he must be “diligent” in something that would help him to achieve that end; hence he must be a good “student” of the word. 

 Study is hard work. There is a difference between “reading” and “studying.”  A person might “read” the newspaper, but unless he is deeply involved in the stock market, it is unlikely that a person would spend much time “studying” the newspaper.  Study is a gathering of facts; it is determining the meaning of words, and their relationship one to another in any given sentence, paragraph or larger context such as a book, manuscript or essay.  Study seeks to determine the meaning of a passage based upon the intent of the author.   A good student of any science or art takes the time to study various fields related to the particular subject he is endeavoring to learn.  It is no different with the Bible. 

 Study begins with reading the Bible; unfortunately most folks never get past this first step.   Having read a passage, the challenge lies in digging deep into that passage to glean heaven’s meaning, and then make application to our life.  It has been properly observed, “The books which help you most are those which make you think most. The hardest way of learning is by easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty” (author unknown).   No book challenges the thinking of men more than the Bible.   Simple in its structure, it is a storehouse of spiritual truth that is easily understood while at the same time challenging to even the most scholarly of men.  As one writer put it, “The Bible is an ocean of knowledge that little children can wade around in, yet no man can fathom the depths thereof.” 

 Perhaps one of the reasons men do not study the Bible is due to a failure to understand the rich value of Bible study.  The following is attributed to Henry Van Dyke: “Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its  own everywhere.  It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man.  Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life.  The wicked and proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother’s voice.  It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, sympathy, devotion, memory, and hope put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech.  No man is poor or desolate who  has this treasure for his own.  When the landscape darkens, and the trembling pilgrim comes to the valley of the shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade, ‘Goodbye; we shall meet again’; and, confronted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness to light”

 Perhaps as this year draws to a close it would benefit each of us to make our resolution a month in advance of ushering in 2009.  Let each one of us determine that we are going to be students of God’s word so that we might reap the wonderful spiritual benefits that comes with “Giving diligence to show thyself approved unto God.”

By Tom Wacaster

Reading the Bible versus studying the Bible:  A Bible survey on reading the Bible versus studying the Bible.  Do you most often “read the Bible” or do you most often “study the Bible”?

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www.alexa.com

Review http://abiblecommentary.com/blog/ on alexa.com

Survey on new health care bill

Do you like the new health care bill?

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Charles Drew, director of the National Blood Bank Program

A brilliant medical doctor discovered the use of blood plasma that resulted in saving thousands of lives in World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War. At Pearl Harbor, for example, 96% of those who received plasma, survived. After World War II Charles Drew was named director of the National Blood Bank Program, and devoted himself to teaching doctors at Howard University Medical School.

On April 1, 1950, while driving some young doctors to a conference he was involved in an automobile accident in Burlington, N.C. He was rushed to a hospital where his life could have been saved by plasma. But Dr. Drew was denied admission to the hospital because his skin was black. He died on the way to another hospital 26 miles away.

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azteca flour tortillas

Do you use azteca flour tortillas?  My family used to LOVE the azteca flour tortillas for their thickness and this was the only brand we bought.  Some time ago we noticed that these tortillas seem to be thinner.  We thought maybe we just had an unusual batch and have bought this produict at other times but now they always seem thinner.  Has azteca changed their  tortillas?  Are azteca flour tortillas thinner than in the past?  If so, was this something customers requested?  If you have tried the Meijer brand of tortillas, do you think Meijer tortillas are like what you used to get with the azteca brand? 

Let others know what you think about azteca tortillas with this “azteca flour tortilla survey”:

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NOT ENOUGH CHAIRS

 

The new preacher loaded his car with his large family and visited an old deacon on the farm. After the introductions there was an awkward pause as the unexpected guests looked for chairs upon which to sit. The parlor had only two chairs.

 “Brother, I don’t believe you have enough chairs,” suggested the preacher.

 “That ain’t it,” muttered the old man. “I got plenty of chairs — just too much company!”

 Some Christians make it clear they don’t want to spend too much time with other Christians, but how important is our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ! Living in a hostile environment, we need the encouragement that comes from those who share the same hopes and goals that we do.

 God knew that we would need each other, that the Christian life would be difficult if not impossible to live in isolation. That’s what the church is all about. The early Christians certainly recognized the value of being together:

 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” (Acts 2:46, NIV)

 Take time today to spend a few moments with a fellow Christian, encouraging and being encouraged. Just be sure to have plenty of chairs ready!

Alan Smith

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Are You A Pouter?

 
Pouting is popular with the prepubescent, but occasionally it occurs in even the older.  The latter would be especially amusing, if not for how pathetic they appear.  Pouting is, by design, an exercise in immature manipulation and an expression of excessive self-centeredness.  Perhaps the best (worst?) example of this mode of operation comes from the infamous Ahab, arguably Israel’s most wicked king.  After his encounter with the prophet who rebuked him for failing to kill Syrian King Ben-Hadad, Ahab “went to his house sullen and displeased” (1 Kings 20:43).  “After these things” (1 Kings 21:1), Ahab desperately wanted to own the vineyard of his unfortunate neighbor, Naboth.  Naboth declined the purchase offer, leaving Ahab once again to go “into his house sullen and displeased” (1 Kings 21:4).  Can you almost envision him slamming the door and stomping with his lip protruding?  There are even hints of his pouting when Jehoshaphat asks for a true prophet and Ahab begrudgingly acknowledges the existence of Micaiah (1 Kings 22).  Ahab says of the good prophet, “I hat him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (8).  You read about him and you want to say with exasperation, “Be a man, why don’t you?”
Do we ever struggle with pouting?  Your initial response may be, “Are you kidding?  Never!”  Not even with your spouse, when you disagree, cannot have your way, or do not have your wishes granted?  Not even with the elders, when they make a judgment call you totally disagree with or they choose not to enact an idea you have?  Not even with a friend, when you feel they neglected you or they seemingly chose someone or something over you? 
Here is a test we can take.  Call it the “pouting test.” 
  • When displeased in a matter, do you clam up and expect the other person to read your mind?
  • If something is not done your way, do you try to punish the other person by passive resistance, gossip, silence, or other verbal or non-verbal clues that scream your unhappiness?
  • How do you handle it if told, backed by rational evidence, that it is too expensive, too unreasonable, too much or not enough in whatever way?
  • Do you give off physical sounds of sulking or pouting-clear visual cues of your displeasure?
I remember, as a teenager, not liking my mom telling me, “Nobody ever gets their way all the time.”  We understand the logic of that, but when do we ever have a single occasion when we feel our way is not the best way?  If we thought of it, thought it through, and built our case, surely that is the way it ought to be.  The problem with that thinking is that we are not living on a deserted island.  We are surrounded by people able to independently exercise judgment, form opinions, and make decisions.  Sociability, in marriage, friendships, the church, on the job, with parents, and elsewhere, demands an attitude that puts others before self (my Philippians class will remember that principle).  Let us encourage each other to grow toward spiritual maturity, part of which includes putting away things like Ahabean pouting.
 
–Neal Pollard
How to deal with pouting: Take this “pouting survey:
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Curing Scurvy – how to cure scurvy

Today, only “primates” and guinea pigs get scurvy since their bodies cannot process a natural vitamin so needed to prevent it. Rarely, if ever, do you hear of a human today coming down with scurvy, yet in the heyday of shipping on the open seas (the 17th-19th centuries) it is commonly said that a million people died of the disease. Stephen R. Brown, who literally wrote the book on “Scurvy,” described the vicious ailment. He says, “Scurvy is a hideous and frightful affliction by which the body’s connective tissue degenerates, resulting in bleeding gums, wobbly teeth, rot-reeking breath, anemic lethargy, physical weakness, the opening of old wounds, and the separating of once healed broken bones. Untreated, it leads to a slow, agonizing, and inevitable death.” Though Hippocrates, who was alive the same time as the prophets Zechariah and Malachi, knew about scurvy, it was not until the early 1800s that steps were taken to eliminate the scourge of scurvy.

The most amazing thing is that the cure for scurvy was suggested almost 300 years before people began to believe in and utilize it. Such well-known and highly-regarded people as Portuguese explorers Pedro Cabral (1510) and Vasco da Gama (1510s), French explorer Jacques Cartier ( 1535), British surgeon James Lind (1753), British sea captain James Cook (1776), and many others suggested that citrus fruits and even to a lesser degree green vegetables could prevent scurvy. Sometimes, natives in lands where these explorers went knew these facts. Other times, the cure was found in a desperate means of guesswork or the process of elimination. Yet, the results, when Vitamin C was given to sailors, was dramatic and seemingly miraculous.

In fact, it was too obvious and too easy. Many doubted the cure because it just could not be that simple. It had to be something more hidden, complex, or nefarious. But, finally, in the 19th century, after a million sailors had succumbed to it, did the cure “catch on” with people. How tragic!

Yet, for 2,000 years, people have done the same thing with baptism with infinitely more tragic results. The Bible makes abundantly clear the role baptism plays in curing man’s greatest problem (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16; Romans 6:1-6; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21). However, the vast majority of the religious world rejects that baptism is essential to salvation. Some reason that it cannot be that simple, that immersing someone in water cannot be so important to God and His plan for saving us. So, they refuse to be baptized. Many religious people, Christ-believing people just will not be baptized to have their sins washed away. The Lord has spelled out the cure. We must place greater faith in God’s wisdom than man’s wisdom! The cure is evident and simple, but we still must submit to it.

Neal Pollard

Vitamin Survey – take this “vitamin survey”:

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ODD AMUSEMENT

In Kent, England, you can go to “Digger World,” and enjoy and even reenact your favorite parts of the Bob The Builder show and books. Or if you prefer a Buddhist-themed amusement park, you might try Suoi Tien Park in Vietnam–complete with waterfalls coming out a sage’s beard or an aerial bicycle ride over a lake filled with 1,500 crocodiles. What fun! If in the Baltic region, try “Stalin World.” This is Lithuania’s attempt to remind people of the dark days of Communism. You can even be interrogated by a KGB officer and wear a gas mask! America is not exempt from eclectic amusement parks, as New York’s Coney Island that perhaps enjoyed its heydays in the heart of the 20th Century. Freak shows and side shows aplenty give Coney Island its offbeat reputation (information from travel.yahoo.com).

People find the strangest things to amuse themselves. Back in the period of the Judges, the Philistines found a deadly means of “amusing themselves.” It was the Samson Show they all came out to see, the last thing 3,000 of them ever witnessed. Do you ever wonder what they tried to get Samson to do or why they thought that trotting out the formerly strong, now blinded judge would be amusing? Their amusement became their annihilation (see Judges 16:25-30).

God created us intelligent beings, and with that endowed us with creativity, inquisitiveness, aesthetic appreciation, ingenuity, and the like. Put another way, we often enjoy being amused. It might be a funny comedian or movie, a hobby, books and literature, or any number of similar things. Amusement can be a great way to cope with the often painful realities of life.

Yet, let us keep something in mind about the ways we amuse ourselves. God has guidelines that govern such things. Beware any amusements that pander to the lusts of the flesh and detract from our cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:19-23). If we are amused by the sinful, the smutty, and the suggestive things of life, we are setting ourselves up for a more terrible end than that experienced by Samson’s tormentors. There is nothing in the world worth our embracing it to the loss of our own soul (cf. Matt. 16:26). Enjoy life! Have fun! But avoid anything that will drive a wedge between you and God because that’s not funny!

Coney Island Poll: Have you ever visited Coney Island?

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Neal Pollard

Louis Braille

It was 1818 in France, and Louis, a boy of 9, was sitting in his father’s workshop. The father was a harness-maker and the boy loved to watch his father work the leather. “Someday Father,” said Louis, “I want to be a harness-maker, just like you.”

“Why not start now?” said the father. He took a piece of leather and drew a design on it. “Now, my son,” he said, “take the hole- puncher and a hammer and follow this design, but be careful that you don’t hit your hand.”

Excited, the boy began to work, but when he hit the hole-puncher, it flew out of his hand and pierced his eye! He lost the sight of that eye immediately. Later, sight in the other eye failed. Louis was now totally blind.

A few years later, Louis was sitting in the family garden when a friend handed him a pine cone. As he ran his sensitive fingers over the cone, an idea came to him. He became enthusiastic and began to create an alphabet of raised dots on paper so that the blind could feel and interpret what was written. Thus, Louis Braille opened up a whole new world for the blind–all because of an accident!

“Bad circumstances” can sometimes lead to “good things.”

Survey question: “Have bad times in your life led to ‘good things'”?

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In Christ Alone My Hope is found

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” – Hebrews 1:1-2 

Unless you are willing to say that these verses are not true, the only possible conclusion is that everything, we need to know, was given to us solely by Jesus Christ. 

In fact, Jesus says this of Himself:  

            “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him.  The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.  For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.  And I know that His command is everlasting life.  Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” – John 12:48-50 

If you want to know how to attain salvation, then you need to know by what you will be judged.  As stated clearly throughout Scripture, we will be judged by the word of God.  That “Word” was and is Jesus Christ. (See John 1 & 5) 

It is concluded that we will indeed stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged by His Word.  

The problem lies in the fact that most people (even in the Lord’s Church) do not believe that Christ Himself delivered all we need to know.  Let’s examine what was preached in the “New Testament days.”  

Paul writes to the churches in Galatia: 

            “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – Galatians 1:11-12 

Did Paul or any other New Testament writer preach anything that took away or added to the teaching of Christ?  I don’t believe they did.  In fact, Paul even said in verse 8 of Galatians chapter one that “if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”  When Paul mentions “we” and “him,” he is including himself.  

 Jesus said in the Great Commission: 

             “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” – Matthew 28:19-20

 We ONLY have the authority to teach what Christ taught.   

 Are we teaching anything as doctrine that Christ did not teach?

 Do we make the word of God void through our tradition”?   

 If you are teaching or believing anything that Christ did NOT teach, then you should abandon completely whatever that teaching is. 

 Christ taught us how to be saved; he taught us about worship, living, and all things pertaining to eternal life. 

 Salvation: Mark 16:16

Worship: John 4:21-24

Living: Matthew 22:37-40

Eternal Life: John 6:63-64

 If Christ told us to do something, then we better do it.  If He told us not to do something, then we had better not do it.  If He did not teach on something, then it is not important for our eternal salvation.  To say that Christ did not give us everything important for eternal salvation is to call Him a liar.  And that is blasphemy. 

             “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?  Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.  And the ruin of that house was great.”

 – Luke 6:46-49

 The Lord Jesus Christ alone is our foundation for faith.  Any doctrine built on anything but the teaching of the Son of God alone, is heresy. 

Sermon by Luke Jackson

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God sent a teacher and a savior to the world

If our greatest need had been information,

God would have sent us an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology,

God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money,

God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure,

God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness,

so God sent us a Savior!

–Source unknown

Jesus survey: A survey on Jesus

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Buying a car at an auction

A man recently described his visit to a Charity auto auction in this way. “The Vehicles were classified as either “Running” or “No Start. I watched the auction as it made its way through the many cars in the parking lot. Then a particular vehicle was reached on the parking lot on the block was a No Starter. It had a shattered windshield, two missing tires, a sagging front bumper, and a cockeyed grille, a hood that was sprung up at an angle, and dings and dents all over the body.

Before he started the bidding, the auctioneer announced the car’s year, make, and model, and then read the previous owner’s comments: ‘Please note – the radio does not work.'”

Humm, I don’t think I would have listed the “radio” as the most important non working part on that car, but perhaps it had belonged to a teenager!

I realize, as I hope you do, someone’s priorities were out of balance. But we tend to look at things in a pretty out of balance way concerning our lives also, don’t we? The things that should be of real importance get shoved to the back of our lives by the next urgent thing that falls in our lap.

I was asked recently, “How do you know that you are really putting God first in your life?” I guess I would say it was when you stop letting him be pushed to the back of your life by the urgent as a matter of course.

We tend to get into the habit of dealing with the urgent and not the important. We need to get a handle on prioritizing our life and making sure that God is at the top of the list in everything we do. You are more than likely familiar with the saying “What would Jesus do?”, this asked the question of us concerning how we will respond to everyday events in our lives. Perhaps we also need to ask ourselves, “If God is first in my life, where will this thing, event or action fit into my life as a priority?”

It’s like this: What’s more important to your car, a working engine or a working radio? Or perhaps like this, “What is more important in your life, whatever you are doing or what you should be doing for God?” A couple of scriptures come to mind regarding this. In Matthew 6:21 Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” And James adds this thought, “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do,” (James 2:18).

So the bottom line just may be this: Your actions speak just as loudly as your words regarding what is really your top priority. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 5:15-16, “Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Your life may have, “a shattered windshield, two missing tires, a sagging front bumper, a cockeyed grille, a hood that is sprung up at an angle, and dings and dents all over your body and your radio may not work, but if your engine still runs (if you have a heart that serves God) that’s all that really matters. You can tell your priorities by your actions. So, what is most important to you? Hopefully it is your relationship with our God!

–Russ Lawson

Auction survey – an auction survey on cars:

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First Corinthians commentary

First Corinthians commentary:  Would you like to know more about the New Testament book of First Corinthians? Check out the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  This First Corinthians commentary may be reviewed through Google’s book program at this link – http://books.google.com/books?printsec=frontcover&id=lzXK9YMllHEC#v=onepage&q=&f=false – or purchased from http://www.abiblecommentary.com/.  If the Google book link does not work, here is a shorter URL:  http://bit.ly/dfw86d.

Here is a book review for this new First Corinthians commentary.

Are you in the foxhole?

Jessie Pope spent about seventy days on the Vietnam War front.

Despite the fact that his military service occurred more than four decades ago, the memories associated with his duty are still strong in his mind. With a mere moment’s recollection, Jessie can re-live and vividly re-tell some of those harrowing experiences as if they had happened only yesterday.

The Viet Cong lobbed mortar rounds and rockets at Jessie and his fellow comrades-in-arms on a perpetual basis. At times, all the unit could do was hunker down and pray that a shell did not land nearby.  Jessie said the difference between life and death during those attacks was a well-fortified fox hole. He said that prior to VC engagements, the U.S. soldiers would dig simple foxholes to escape the shelling. They would then surround the foxholes with piles of heavy sandbags stacked several feet high.

Unless a shell actually dropped squarely in the shelter, the men would be safe from the hot shrapnel that exploded at impact. On the other hand, if a careless soldier decided to venture outside a foxhole during a time an attack was initiated, he invariably suffered injury, even death. Life outside the foxhole was dangerous at best and fatal at worst.

For Jessie, there was only one place for protection from enemy fire–it was a foxhole. Anywhere else meant trauma or loss of life.  As I think about it, God has always had a kind of foxhole for folks:

• In Noah’s day, safety could only be found in the ark (1 Peter 3:20). Everyone outside that gopher wood barge perished in the global flood (Genesis 6-8).

• In Israel’s day during Egyptian bondage, safety could only be found in a house with lamb’s blood on the door post (Exodus 12:1ff). Anyone who failed to go in the house where blood was applied suffered the effects of the death plague.

• In Rahab’s day, safety could only be found in the house with the scarlet thread (Joshua 2:12-21; 6:17).  Citizens found outside her home died at the hands of the conquering Israelite army.

• In Joshua’s day, safety could only be found in one of the six cities of refuge (Joshua 20:1ff; Exodus 21:12-13). To be caught outside of either Golan, Ramoth, Bezer, Kedesh, Shechem or Hebron (Joshua 20:7-8) meant that you would perish.

Safety and protection could only be found in God’s appointed place–whether it was the ark, a specific house, or a chosen city. The same is true today. There is ONLY ONE PLACE where spiritual safety can be located. Jehovah’s foxhole is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 1:1, 3-7; 3:10-11). All blessings are there (Ephesians 1:3); salvation is there (Acts 2:27). It is the only place of real security from the wages of sin.

For Jessie there was but one objective–stay in, stay down, and stay alive. What about you, dear reader? Do you want to experience eternal life (Matthew 25:46b)?  If you do, then you must believe in Jesus (Mark 16:15-16; John 8:24), repent and turn from your sins (Acts 2:38: 3:19), confess that He is Lord (Acts 8:37), and be immersed for the forgiveness of sins (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38), at which time the Lord will add you to His church.

Are you in the foxhole?

–Mike Benson

Survey for veterans: Have you served in the armed forces?

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Sermon on why Jesus went to the cross

The sermon is offered in a full outline as well as a one page version 

  1. Imagining opening up the book of Matthew and finding that this book is 2,000 pages long.
  2. We then turn to Mark we see that this account of Jesus’ life is also 2,000 pages long.
  3. The book of Luke is another 2,000 pages.
  4. Then we come to John and it is 2,400 pages long.

 IT HAS BEEN ESTIMATED THAT THE FOUR RECORDS OF JESUS’ LIFE COULD EASILY EXCEED MORE THAN 8,400 PAGES.

   a)      About 20% of what the 4 authors of  Jesus’ life said deals with the final three days of Jesus’ life.

b)      If these writers had written the same amount of information about Jesus’ 3 ½ year ministry,

c)      The 4 accounts of the Lord’s life would be more than 8,400 pages long. 

2)      Using 20% of the gospels to discuss Jesus’ final three days and this fact is significant.

3)      Jesus’ final three days on the earth were a time when some of the greatest events in the world took place.

a)      One of these events took place on Calvary.

b)      When we think about who Jesus is we must say He was someone who was born to die.

c)      In Mt. 20:28 Jesus said He came to give His life as a “ransom” for many.

d)     In Mk. 9:12 Jesus said it was “written” that He was to be rejected and suffer.

4)      Many times before we partake of the Lord’s Supper we read some portion of Isa. 53 read.

a)      This Old Testament prophet said the Lord would be “numbered with transgressors” (Isa. 53:12).

b)      Thousands of years had led up to what took place on a cross about 2000 years ago.

c)      Because the cross was so central to God’s plan, Jesus’ final days make up about 1/5 of the gospels.

d)     The gospels are written as we have them because man has a serious problem called sin and           

e)      Because Jesus is the solution to this problem. 

5)      In the opening chapters of the Bible we read about sin – Adam and Eve both sinned.

6)      In the final chapters of the Bible we also read about sin.

7)      As our English Bibles end, God says people are eternally condemned because of sin or forgiven.

8)      One of God’s most popular messages to the world throughout time has involved sin sin.

9)      Sin was a common subject for Old Testament prophets. 

10)  One of the great passages in the Old Testament is Isa. 59:1-2.

a)      We heard this for our scripture reading – sin separates people from God.

b)      Sin causes (figuratively speaking) God to “hide his face” from people. 

11)  Eph. 2:13 says sin causes people to be “afar off from God.”
Jesus was willing to go to the cross and “made peace” with His sacrifice (Eph. 2:15).

a)      This “peace” is something that man really needs.

b)      Judg. 16:20 says the “Lord departed from Samson.”

c)      This departure was due to sin.

d)     The Old Testament tells of how the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (1 Sam. 16:14).

e)      This was also due to sin. 

12)  In life our physical bodies can absorb some deadly items in small amounts and still be okay.

13)  There are other times which will destroy us, even if the amount is very, very small.

14)  Sin is so powerful that the smallest amount of it will completely destroy our eternal spirit.

a)      Think of Gen. 3:6 – Eve saw the forbidden fruit and ate of it.

b)      The Bible does not say this fruit was an apple – we do not know what the forbidden fruit was.

c)      We can, however, know a couple of things for certain.

d)     How many pieces of fruit did Eve need to eat before she was guilty of sin?

e)      Most have enough sense to realize that one piece of fruit was all she needed to eat to sin.

f)       Eve did not need to ingest a bushel basket full of this fruit to be affected and infected by sin.

g)      If only one piece was required, did Eve need to eat the entire piece of fruit?  No.

h)      The first bite was all that was necessary for Eve to be permanently stung by sin.

 15)  Can we imagine how powerful something is that just a single taste of it destroys us?

16)  This is what the Bible teaches about sin in the opening chapters of the Bible. 

17)  This point is not limited to Gen. 3; it is also taught in Gen. 19.

a)      Gen. 19 is the place where we read about Lot and his family.

b)      Heavenly beings showed up and said some cities were going to be destroyed.

c)      Lot and his family needed to flee to safety.

d)     Lot “lingered” (Gen. 19:16) and the Bible says the heavenly beings “laid hold on his hand.”

e)      When heavenly beings say “it is time to go,” it is time to go.

f)       The heavenly visitors said those leaving were not supposed to look back. 

18)  This point is specifically made in Gen. 19:17 – READ

19)  When God says “do not do something” and people do it, they are guilty of sin (they break God’s law).

20)  It does not take much effort to sin; we all break God’s laws at one time or another.

21)  The people with Lot knew what was said, but Lot’s wife decided to look back – Gen. 19:26 – READ

a)      How many looks did Lot’s wife need to take before she was guilty of sin?  Just one.

b)      Like the fruit eaten by Eve (and Adam), only the minutest amount of sin makes us guilty before God.

22)  A lot of people in life think they are going to be okay because they are not murderers and bank robbers. 

23)  Eve and Lot’s wife were not bank robbers and murderers.

24)  These two women, by our standards, were guilty of small things.

25)  How could eating a piece of fruit and taking a look back at one’s home be that big of a deal?

26)  The answer is that these actions were a violation of God’s will.

27)  These small acts were enough to dirty their soul to the point where they needed forgiveness.

28)  If they did not obtain forgiveness, they will be eternally separated from God. 

29)  Lest someone walk away and think I only used ladies for illustrations, let’s turn to males for a moment.

a)      It is true that women have been guilty of small things that made them guilty before God.

b)      Men have been and are just as guilty.

c)      In 2 Sam. 6 we read of how the Ark of the Covenant was being transported.

d)     2 Sam. 6:6 says the “oxen stumbled.”

e)      This is a story that we can understand without difficulty. 

30)  Imagine if we transporting something like a glass window.

31)  The glass started to tip and we could see that it was about to fall.

32)  Our natural reaction would be to reach out and try to prevent an accident.

a)      Let’s suppose that we were told before we started out that we were not authorized to touch the glass.

b)      Everything is going fine until right towards the last and our glass begins to fall.

c)      Many would still have a natural tendency to reach out and try to prevent the accident.

33)  We might act before we think about the instruction to not touch the glass.

34)  Uzzah was not entitled to touch the ark, but he reached out when the oxen stumbled.

35)  Today some would compliment him.

a)      Some would say, “Yes, he was not authorized to touch the ark.  An accident was about to happen.”

b)      “Uzzah prevented the accident and his actions are commendable.”

c)      This is now how this story reads – 2 Sam. 6:6-7 – READ

d)     Sin comes from the smallest of things and sin is serious, serious business. 

36)  Men sin and women sin.  In some cases husbands and wives sin together.

37)  Do we remember the story about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11?

a)      This husband and wife were both Christians and these  church members are important.

b)      Some would look at the preceding references and say, “Those are all Old Testament passages.”

c)      “In the New Testament we find all kinds of grace and mercy associated with God. 

38)  There was grace and mercy in the Old Testament and the New Testament does not excuse small sins.

a)      Acts 5 says Ananias (the husband) lied about a contribution to the church.

b)      His wife came in a little later; she also lied and died.

39)  Our world thinks that many lies are insignificant; some think that some lies are actually good.

40)  The smallest lie is enough to eternally separate us from God.

a)      Teresa and I recently learned about someone who got a speeding ticket (not a member here).

b)      The ticket was issued for going just 5 mph over the speed limit.

c)      Some of the comments about the ticket were, “I can’t believe they issued a ticket for 5 miles over.” 

41)  We often have a hard time seeing “little things” (small sins) as “big things.”

42)  God does not see things as we do.

43)  Any sin is a “big thing” –Jesus had to go to the cross for what we think of big sins as well as small sins.

44)  What the Lord did was truly spectacular.

45)  Listen to 2 Cor. 8:9 – – READ    

a)      Through Christ we become “rich.”

b)      A lot of  people think of “rich” in secular terms.

c)      If we have more money than we can ever spend, then some think they are rich. 

46)  Some would say a rich man is someone who:

47)  He has 7 cars, one for every day of the week.

48)  He has homes in a dozen places throughout the world.

49)  He has private jets that are always at his disposal.

50)  He is surrounded by personal assistants, maids, aids, and advisors.

51)  This man also has more money than 100 people could spend.

52)  Such a man might be regarded as rich by the world, but he is really one of the poorest men who has ever lived.

53)  Unless this man has been washed in the blood of the lamb, he really has nothing.

a)      Every single sin he has committed will be brought up on the day of judgment.

b)      When this man’s life ends, how rich will he be?  He will have lost it all.

c)      I submit that people as I just described are among the poorest people in the world. 

54)  The person who has been cleansed from every single sin is rich beyond words, 2 Cr. 8. 

55)  Part of the wealth in Christ is found in the fact that God never wants to give up on people.

56)  Adam and Eve broke the first rule God gave to man, but God did not quit on them.

57)  Sarah laughed about the idea of having a child, but God did not turn from her.

58)  Moses went into hiding for quite a while, but God didn’t forsake him.

59)  David plotted against Uriah and had him killed, but God did not turn away from David.

60)  The nation of Israel was destroyed, but God did not forget about the nation He had redeemed.

61)  Peter denied the Lord, but Jesus did not count this sin as being too much to forgive. 

62)  Sin is man’s worst problem, Jesus came to cure that problem, and God is a persistent physician.

63)  For thousands of years God has been in the business of curing men from sin.

64)  Today as we assemble here:  Have we received the proper treatment for this terrible problem?

65)  The cross tells us that sin is man’s worst problem, but God has the cure for sin.

66)  Sin promises liberty, but it brings slavery.

67)  Sin appears to be attractive, but it is really ugly.

If you like this trimmed down outline, please check out my other materials, especially the NEW First Corinthians commentary available at www.abiblecommentary.com — this is really a GREAT commentary.

One page sermon outline:

Why Jesus went to the cross

 a)      When we think about who Jesus is we must say He was someone who was born to die.

b)      In Mt. 20:28 Jesus said He came to give His life as a “ransom” for many.

c)      In Mk. 9:12 Jesus said it was “written” that He was to be rejected and suffer.

2)      Many times before we partake of the Lord’s Supper we read some portion of Isa. 53 read.

3)      In the opening chapters of the Bible we read about sin – Adam and Eve both sinned.

4)      One of the great passages in the Old Testament is Isa. 59:1-2.

a)      Sin separates people from God.

b)      Sin causes (figuratively speaking) God to “hide his face” from people.

5)      Eph. 2:13 says sin causes people to be “afar off from God.”
Jesus was willing to go to the cross and “made peace” with His sacrifice (Eph. 2:15).

a)      This “peace” is something that man really needs.

b)      Judg. 16:20.

c)      The Old Testament tells of how the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (1 Sam. 16:14).

6)      Sin is so powerful that the smallest amount of it will completely destroy our eternal spirit.

a)      Think of Gen. 3:6 – Eve saw the forbidden fruit and ate of it.

b)      How many pieces of fruit did Eve need to eat before she was guilty of sin?

c)      Eve did not need to ingest a bushel basket full of this fruit to be affected and infected by sin.

d)     The first bite was all that was necessary for Eve to be permanently stung by sin.

7)      This point is not limited to Gen. 3; it is also taught in Gen. 19.

a)      Lot “lingered” (Gen. 19:16) and the Bible says the heavenly beings “laid hold on his hand.”

b)      The heavenly visitors said those leaving were not supposed to look back.

8)      This point is specifically made in Gen. 19:17 – READ

9)      When God says “do not do something” and people do it, they are guilty of sin (they break God’s law).

10)  It does not take much effort to sin; we all break God’s laws at one time or another.

11)  The people with Lot knew what was said, but Lot’s wife decided to look back – Gen. 19:26 – READ

a)      How many looks did Lot’s wife need to take before she was guilty of sin?  Just one.

12)  A lot of people in life think they are going to be okay because they are not murderers and bank robbers.

13)  Eve and Lot’s wife were not bank robbers and murderers.

a)      Males have been and are just as guilty.

b)      2 Sam. 6:6 says the “oxen stumbled.”

14)  Uzzah was not entitled to touch the ark, but he reached out when the oxen stumbled.

15)  Today some would compliment him.

a)      2 Sam. 6:6-7 – READ

b)      Sin comes from the smallest of things and sin is serious, serious business.

16)  Men sin and women sin.  In some cases husbands and wives sin together.

17)  Do we remember the story about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11?

18)  Jesus had to go to the cross for what we think of big sins as well as small sins.

19)  What the Lord did was truly spectacular.  2 Cor. 8:9 – – READ            

a)      Through Christ we become “rich.”

b)      A lot of  people think of “rich” in secular terms.

20)  Sin is man’s worst problem, Jesus came to cure that problem, and God is a persistent physician.

21)  For thousands of years God has been in the business of curing men from sin.

22)  Today as we assemble here:  Have we received the proper treatment for this terrible problem?

23)  The cross tells us that sin is man’s worst problem, but God has the cure for sin.

Forsaken by God: A sermon on the word forsaken

A sermon on the word “forsaken”

 1)      For our scripture reading we heard the opening verses of Gen. 12.

2)      Abraham was told to “forsake” some things.

3)      Imagine if we were told to literally forsake the United States and go to another country.

4)      Try to imagine making this trip without a car, a moving van, or an airplane ticket.

5)      In Gen. 12 God said to Abraham, “Leave your family behind.”

6)      Go to a new country and go without your relatives.

7)      Today some have the idea that God would not require them to forsake anything.

8)      This is not what we find in Gen. 12.

9)      Someone might think to themselves, “Well, this was early in Bible history.

10)  “This was probably just a one time thing; after all, Abraham was a special character.”

a)      In Mt. 24:2-35 Jesus discussed the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

b)      Jesus said there would be signs that helped people identify when Jerusalem would be destroyed.

c)      Beginning in verse 36 Jesus spoke of His next and final return.

d)     In verse 36f there are no signs; here Jesus taught that we cannot know the day of His return.

11)  Let’s start with verse 15 and read through verse 20 – READ

12)  Imagine being in a situation where we must forsake our home and leave behind all we own.

a)      We forsake our cars, our computers, our furniture, our pictures, our food – we abandon it all.

b)      About the only thing we are able to take with us are the clothes on our back.

c)      Moving from the book of Matthew, we turn to the book of Luke, Lk. 5.

d)     Verse 11– READ

e)      Here were men who “forsook all” to follow the Lord.

13)  Abraham was willing to forsake many things to follow the God of the Bible.

14)  Some have had to forsake their homes because of war and natural disasters.

a)      Have we ever given up one thing for the kingdom of God?

b)      Have we ever forsaken something to fulfill the will of God?

15)  Listen to Mark 10:29: 

16)  Giving up things we want or things that interest us is not the American way.

17)  Lk. 5 says there were men who gave up “all” – these men literally gave up a business for Christ.

a)      If we were a business owner, would we be willing to forsake (give up) our business for our faith?

b)      If we are a homeowner, would we be willing to give up our house if that were required?

c)      Would we give up our car and our other possessions for the sake of Christ.

d)     Jonah – God called on this prophet to forsake some things.

e)      God told him to go preach but Jonah forsook this divine mission.

f)       Jonah needed to forsake his prejudices against the people of Nineveh.

18)  Judg. 10:10 says the children of made a confession to God.

19)  The Hebrews said they had “Forsaken God” to serve a false deity.

20)  God told the people of Israel that because they had forsaken Him He would forsake them.

21)  In Jn. 6:66-67 we learn that “many” of Jesus’ disciples “walked no longer with Him.’ 

a)      Today people can still forsake God.

b)      Sometimes this forsaking takes the form of attendance.

c)      Today some forsake New Testament Christianity for some other religious group.

d)     Some forsake services for t.v. or something else.

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e)      Are we “forsaking” some things?

YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE

In the boiling pot of politics in which we find ourselves, emotions can run extremely high.  Of course, that did not start with this political season.  Unfortunately, the respect and honor that people once gave those in “high office” is eroding.  The current president has been treated contemptuously and shown great disrespect, even by those in places of great influence.  Even a movie portraying him in less than honorable ways reveals a disturbing trend.  The president who served before him, with whose views and platform I happen to mostly disagree, was also shown much disrespect during his eight years.

The upcoming election stands to strongly displease half of this nation, which ever way it goes.  Which ever way it does go, we have the same God-given obligation toward the man who assumes that important position.  It was an obligation was first laid out under the first covenant, but one that continued under the New Testament.  After Paul was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21:34), the Sanhedrin Council called him to answer before them (Acts 22:30).  While being examined, Paul was struck by someone standing near him at the command of Ananias, the high priest (Acts 23:2).  Paul, apparently not knowing who authorized his being hit, rebuked Ananias (Acts 23:3).  Observers inform him he was “reviling” God’s high priest, to which Paul replied, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people” (Acts 23:5).  That is a quotation from Exodus 22:28.  Notice that this was spoken to the people of God.  Nothing was said about the quality and goodness of the leader.  Later, Paul urges Timothy to teach the church at Ephesus that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2).  This is said to be good and acceptable in God’s sight (1 Tim. 2:3).  Note that it is for “all in authority.”  Let us not forget that the Caesars were the kings and that the Roman government was filled with all manner of unsavory types, from the top down to magistrates and city authorities.  Peter urges Christians subject to the same government and officials to “Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). 

We should never admire and imitate the bad morals of our leaders.  We should do whatever is legally within our power to prevent the greater of two evils from having power.  But, God has given us His will regarding how we treat those who are in office, these ones “ordained of Him” (cf. Rom. 13:1-7).  We are not to speak evil of them.  We are to pray for them.  We are to honor them.  Commands are easy when they coincide with our will and inclination already.  Discipleship is tough when the commands go against our will.  Let us pray about the present situation and do what is within our power.  Then, let us leave the rest to the unlimited power of God!  — Neal Pollard

Take this “presidential survey poll”!

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Election survey – how often do you vote when elections come?

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For those in the U.S. here is a “party” survey:

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