Archives for : April2014

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Is—

* The One who often wept (John 11:35), yet He dries our tears (Revelation 7:17; 21:4).

* The One who was sold for the price of a common slave (Exodus 21:31; Matthew 26:15), yet He redeemed man from his sins (1 Peter 1:18-19).

* The One who was led as a lamb to the slaughter (Acts 8:32), yet He is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

* The One who gave His life (Galatians 2:20), and by His dying made it possible for us to be saved (Mark 16:16).

– V. P. Black,

The origin of many marital problems

GOD’S CREATION FUNCTIONS on the basis of laws…

It’s true in the physical world as well as the spiritual one.  You may deny the fact that what goes up must come down, but if you jump out of a second-story window, the law of gravity will take effect.

We cannot be indifferent or ignore the laws of God.  And He tells us very clearly that what we sow, we will also reap.

At least half the problems I encounter during marital counseling were sown during premarital relationship days.  Long before they said their vows, they were planting seeds that would sprout in the new soil of marriage.

God’s laws of sowing and reaping are fixed; you cannot ignore them without paying a price.  I have grown up hearing about the sexual revolution and the concept of “free love.”  Yet in every counseling situation with young people who have involved themselves in immorality, there has been a price to pay.  And sometimes a terrible one.

Let me make the modest suggestion that you engrave the following “laws of the harvest” on your spiritual forehead!  Everyone will reap exactly what he sows.

It seems that it is always easier to grow weeds than it is to grow vegetables.  My mom taught me that if you plant corn, you get corn.  If you plant potatoes, you harvest spuds and only spuds…not cantaloupes, not peaches, not turnips.  Please remember that your choices will determine your harvest (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6).  Ron Mehl, “Sowing and Reaping,” Just in Case I Can’t Be There, 159-161

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”  Galatians 6:7

–Mike Benson

A secret about women

ONE REASON WOMEN avoid approaching their husbands for a simple hug is because to ask for a hug is interpreted as a signal for sex…

When a man learns that a hug can be simply a signal for closeness and that his wife should be able to ask for a hug and not be groped, the couple has reached a new level of emotional bonding.  When a wife knows that her husband loves her for who she is without physical gratification, she feels connected.  A man, then, can learn that the greatest intimacy in a relationship is the disclosure of himself.  The relationship then becomes safe without the fear of rejection.  Paul Hegstrom, Angry Man and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse, 38

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.”  Ephesians 5:25

Mike Benson

You’re the bee’s knees

When Words Lose Their Meaning

Tell someone “You’re the bee’s knees” and you may get a blank stare. “Bee’s knees?” they might respond. “What in the world are you talking about?”

There was a time when that phrase was used as a compliment, a term of affection. But those words have now lost their meaning for most of our society.

It can happen with words that we use frequently. Though we attempt to convey a message, for one reason or another, the words we use have lost their meaning. Let me suggest a couple of common examples.

“I love you” is often spoken between husbands and wives. But does the phrase still have the meaning it once did? If one rarely makes time for the other, or if one has abused the trust of the other, the words become hollow.

You might say “I love you,” many times a day, but if you don’t back up those words with appropriate actions, they are meaningless. Just hearing the words in the absence of visible proof of love can make the other angry.

“I’m sorry” is another phrase that can be drained of any meaning. How easy it is to produce the vocal sounds! When we have stepped over the boundaries of another’s trust, we quickly say “I’m sorry!”

But will it mean anything to the other? If this is the umpteenth time we have committed this transgression, the words are no longer sufficient. It’s time to back up the words with appropriate (changed) behavior.

I’ve chosen to highlight these phrases because they are often used in our most significant relationships: with our spouses, and with our Lord. But do they mean anything any longer? Are we attempting to avoid altering our behavior by using our “get-out-of-jail- free” words?

Jesus warned us against speaking words without giving appropriate consideration to their meaning.

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36, 37, NKJV).

Considering their potential for harm, every word should be spoken carefully. And when I speak to the ones I love most, let me make absolutely sure my actions verify the message I’m attempting to send. God’s words are infallibly true (Romans 3:4).

Do I come close to his standard?

–by Tim Hall

Our Useless Information Age

WE ARE LIVING in the Information Age…or should it be called the Useless Information Age…

The three giant social networking Web sites…Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter…allow their users to share their thoughts with friends and strangers.  If you want to let people half way around the world know that you just saved $8 at Kroger, you can.  You can share your deepest thoughts and your shallowest feelings.  You can air your political views or cheer your favorite team.  Whether or not people actually care your opinions is beside the point.  It is all about sharing what is on your mind.

Twitter’s concept is the simplest of all the social sites.  Users can give 140-character opinions on any and every issue.  These updates are called “tweets.”  The author’s subscribers are known as “followers.”

I wonder what the apostle Paul would have tweeted to his followers when he was writing his thirteen preserved epistles.  He might have tweeted these thoughts:

Romans: “All have sinned.  All deserve death.  But there is no condemnation in Christ.”

1 Corinthians:  “A divided church is a poor representative of Christ.”

2 Corinthians:  “My apostleship and your benevolence are genuine.”

Galatians:  “Moses’ law served its purpose.  We now live by faith and walk by the Spirit.”

Philippians:  “Don’t let circumstances dictate your faith.  Live with joy.  Be content.”

Colossians:  “Human philosophy distorts the gospel.  Live for Jesus.”

1 and 2 Thessalonians:  “Jesus will return and many people will not be ready.  Be prepared for that day.”

1 and 2 Timothy:  “Ministry should protect the gospel and serve the needy.  There is no better work.”

Titus:  “The grace of God teaches us to live godly lives.”

Philemon:  “People from all backgrounds can be useful in the church.”  James Hayes, “If Paul Had A Twitter Account,” Glad Tidings of Good Things, Vol. 30/January 21, 2010

“How I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.”  Acts 20:20

Mike Benson

FOR SALE: Jesus’ crown of thorns

Last week I was given the opportunity to buy an authentic crown of thorns.  Normally priced at $84.99, this real “crown of thorns” could be mine and the seller would give me a 30% discount on the deal.  The sales person did warn me about buying and wearing this crown as this product is not designed to be a “wearable” item.  The recommended use is wrapping it around a wooden cross which can also be purchased for a nominal fee.

I wanted to ask if the thorns in this crown were of the same type worn by Jesus (Mt. 27:29) but just listened to the sales pitch.  Then, after leaving the store with no crown of thorns and no wooden cross in hand , I thought of how many will gladly buy and display things like crosses and thorny crowns while overlooking what God has said we are to use.  Notice what Paul said in 1 Cor 11:23-26:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said,  “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

The world often tries to point people to Christ and His sacrifice with physical images and objects.  God’s method for pointing people to the Lord and His death is the Lord’s Supper.  Every week (Acts 20:7) Christians are to come together in various places – some with no roofs and walls – to remember the death of Christ.

Do we remember Jesus’ sacrifice on a weekly basis in the way God has described or do we use a method devised by men?  After you answer this question check out Lk. 6:46.

Brad Price
www.abiblecommentary.com

Never boast about tomorrow

“Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then”—Proverbs 27:1 (GNB)

Someone once said that “tomorrow is the busiest day of the week”. I would not question that premise for a moment because all of us are guilty of procrastination, delaying and constantly putting things off to a more convenient time. Tomorrow I am going to do this or that and when tomorrow comes we decide that it want hurt to wait one more day. Tragically, this way of thinking has invaded the spiritual realm of our lives and it is in this realm that we can find no more dangerous way of thinking. The real danger of “tomorrow” lies hidden and often unrealized. Tomorrow we may lose the desire to do those things we promise to do, we may find ourselves incapable of doing them, we may even forget what we were planning to do and the longer we delay and put off, the danger increases that our hearts will become hardened. And let’s face it, we may have no tomorrow left, there are no assurances, no guarantees that we will see tomorrow. (James 4:13-15, 1 Sam. 20:3). Tomorrow is the thief of souls. I remember a good family friend who had attended the services of the church for much of his life but had never put Christ on in baptism (Gal. 3:27). One evening upon arriving home from work, he told his wife to call the preacher and tell him that he wanted to be baptized tomorrow. While his wife with great joy called the preacher, this friend went out into the front yard, sat down under a shade tree, suffered a massive heart attack and died. Tomorrow, how sad, how tragic and yet there are multitudes who, like this friend, live in tomorrow.

The rich fool of Luke 12 had great plans for tomorrow. He was going to tear down old barns, build newer, bigger barns, store all his goods and live the good life for many years. Little did he realize that he had no tomorrow to enjoy. This man failed to realize that man does not control tomorrow, God controls tomorrow. Yesterday is history, today is ours but tomorrow belongs only to God. It is later than you think. Do what needs to be done now. Obey God while it is still today (Rom. 10:17, Acts 16:31, Acts 17:30, Rom. 10:9-10, Mk. 16:16, 1 Pet.3:21). Be faithful to the commitment you make to God (Rev. 2:10).

Today, do the good deeds you plan to do. Express your sympathy, your joy, your love. Be reconciled to your enemies. Help the needy, give that cup of cold water. Be an example of the believer, seek first the kingdom of God, lay up for yourself treasure in heaven (Matt. 25:34-40, Gal. 6:10, Matt.5:43-46, Rom. 12:16-21, 1 Pet. 3:8, Col. 3:12-13, Eph. 4:29-32, 1 Tim. 4:12, Matt. 6:33, Matt. 6:19-21, James 4:17).

I do not know what will happen between now and tomorrow or if I will even see tomorrow. Therefore, I am going to serve God today with all my strength and might knowing that it is not a matter of what I plan to do tomorrow but it is a matter of what am I doing today (Eccl. 9:10). How about you?

Charles Hicks

Has God blessed me?

​Have you ever wished or prayed that God’s blessings would be upon you or someone else in a bigger way? We know we’ve been blessed by the very breath of life and the abundance of things beyond which we’ve been promised (food and clothing).   But do we realize that God has told us who is blessed?  Consider These passages:

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Psa. 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Psa. 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Psa. 112:1 …Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

Psa. 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law

Psa. 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Gal. 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham

John 20:29 …Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Matt. 5:1-11 the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those persecuted for righteousness sake, those reviled

Luke 7:33 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Luke 14:13-14 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

And this is not an all-inclusive list of those who will be blessed but what we can understand is that many of the blessings are by promise and will be fulfilled in the life to come. So many today are focused on what they can get from God and some falsely teach of the abundant physical blessings (riches) that God gives to the ones He truly blesses.

God tells us what to do to receive His blessings. Let’s pray for strength to do those things, and know that when we do, we are blessed.

–Matthew Johnson

Where the Rubber Meets The Road

The expressions vary, but the meaning is the same: “When you get down to brass tacks…,” “When the rubber meets the road…” Regardless of how it is phrased, we all have been at that proverbial fork in the road where a decision must be made revealing what really drives our lives.

Long ago, King Hezekiah found himself in just such a crucible of decision. An Assyrian commander had presented an ultimatum. Surrender to being relocated to another country or die under the worst of conditions. His case that those in Jerusalem would be killed if they did not accept his offer was compelling.

Furthermore, if Hezekiah could have seen to the borders of Judah, his eyes would have seen the other cities of Judah, already ascending as plumes of smoke. For Hezekiah, the moment had come when the rubber met the road. What would he do?

Like Hezekiah, we too face decisions. Although some are larger than others, they all contribute toward the direction our lives are going.

When the rubber meets the road, what principle(s) do we rely upon to guide us? Is our first inclination to begin to try to solve the issues of life based upon ourselves or to drop to our knees in prayer?

When we get down to brass tacks, what do we believe makes life work? Who or what can really take care of us?

From cover to cover of the Bible, God is calling us to trust in him while living in accordance with his ways.

Whatever resources to which we might have access are simply tools. This is a completely different way to live than trusting in our resources while seeking a patronizing divine stamp of approval to pursue our will and way.

Who are we when the rubber meets the road?

–by Barry Newton @ www.forthright.net

Do you have Jesus?

CONTENTMENT

There was a father who was known by his family to be a chronic growler. He complained about everything.  He was sitting one day with his family in the presence of a guest in the living room when the subject of food came up.

One of the children, a little girl, was telling the guest what food each member of the family liked best.

Finally,  it came to the father’s turn to be described.  “And what do I like, Nancy?” he asked.

“You,” said the little girl slowly, “well, what you like most is anything we haven’t got.”

There are some people like that, who simply are never content.  If they’re served one food, they want something else.  If it’s hot outside, they want it to be cold.  If it’s cold, they want it to be hot.  And they’d rather be ANYWHERE else other than where they’re living right now!

To the young man Timothy, Paul wrote, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, we shall be content.” (I Timothy 6:6-8).  Since most of us seem to need far more than that to be content, we are challenged by Paul’s words!

But, to Paul, they weren’t just words to be spoken and discussed.  They were words to be lived out.  Despite the fact that Paul was writing from prison, he was able to say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11).  In the next verse, he said that he had learned to be content with a lot (which would be easy for most of us), but he was also content with little.  The reason he could be content because he had Jesus Christ, and that was all he needed to bring contentment.

Do you have food?  Do you have clothing?  More importantly, do you have Jesus?

Alan Smith

A survey about women

ACCORDING TO A poll conducted by SELF magazine…

1.  Percentage of women using the internet to find a sex partner:  12%  (of 18 to 25 year-olds), 18%  (of 26 to 35 year-olds), 21% (of 36 to 50 year-olds), and 27% (of 51 year-olds and older).

2.  Percentage of women using the internet to learn more about sex and sexuality:  57%

3.  Percentage of women using the internet to find a date:  29% (of 18  to 25 year-olds), 52% (of 26 to 35 year-olds), 51% (of 36 to 50 year-olds), and 68% (of 51 year-olds and older).

4.  More than 30% of women ages 26 to 50 have flirted with a stranger online while in a relationship.

5.  Percentage of women who say they are more likely to be sexually explicit or flirtatious when texting or online than they would be in real life:  40%.

6.  Percentage of women who clear their browser history after viewing explicit content online:  75% (of 18 to 25 year-olds), 63% (of 26 to 35 year-olds), 49% (of 36 to 50 year-olds), and 48% (of 51 year-olds and older).

7,  Percentage of women who have emailed or used their cell phone to send explicit images of themselves:  41%.

8.  Percentage of women who have had cybersex:  38%.

9.  Percentage of women who have sent explicit text messages:  22%.

10.  Percentage of women who have undressed for a webcam:  18%.

Bible message: “…Keep yourself pure.”  1 Timothy 5:22b; cf., Matthew 5:8; Psalms 24:4-5; 51:10; 119:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:5

Mike Benson

Is it wrong to go to the prom?

“Alcohol Enforcement Stepped-Up For Prom Season” (wowt.com, 4/7/14).  Why?

“Prom Season Can Be Dangerous Time For Teens” (www.martinsvillebulletin.com, 4/11/14).  Just one statement in the article reads, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website adds that statistics indicate alcohol-related peer pressure is strongest at prom time, due to the large number of parties in a short period.”

“Some Schools Prohibit Party Buses For School Buses” (tbo.com, 4/7/14).  A principal in the Tampa Bay area interviewed in the article said, “…the most common discipline-worthy incidents at school dances tend to be drinking alcohol before or during the event, fighting, trespassing and inappropriate dancing. ‘The dancing is not like it was when I was in high school,’ he said.”

“Prom And Wretched Excess” (Chicago Tribune, 10/23/05).  A Long Island, New York, principal, Kenneth Hoagland, interviewed for the article says, “Twenty years ago…seniors went to the beach after their prom dance and then to someone’s house for breakfast. Now, he says, prom is a weekend-long orgy that every year has become incrementally more excessive, with small fortunes spent on ostentatious attire, stretch limos stocked with liquor, and ‘booze cruises’ from a local harbor.”

“It’s Your Prom! Make It Safe, Healthy, And Fun” (www.cdc.gov/family/prom/index.htm).  The information page includes cautions about the pressures teens who attend the prom feel to drink alcohol, use drugs, and have sex during the weekend’s activities.

“What Happened To Modest Prom Dresses?” (CNN, Carl Azuz, 5/9/12).  The article reveals that 35% of prom dresses sold by David’s Bridal are from the line called “Sexy,” a style defined by “low-cut backs, high-cut hemlines, and skin-showing cutouts.” Houston Chronicle blogger Mary Jo Rapini, interviewed by Azuz, says a shift in parenting values where parents allow their kids to wear on such occasions what their own parents would not have explains some of what has happened to “modest prom dresses.”

Headlines like these are to be found ad nauseum.  They demonstrate that even the world acknowledges that Prom Night promotes immoral behavior.  I cannot help but ask why we as Christians either encourage or permit our children’s participation in an event with so many elements clearly “over the line.”  Why we would want to associate with something that involves a fundamental compromise of what is right in so many areas of Christian living?

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul writes, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Paul teaches us that our bodies and minds belong to God.  That means that there are circumstances where the world will urge and pressure us to do things and go places that are worldly.  Let us carefully deliberate and always strive to be transformed rather than conformed.  Distinctiveness can certainly be unpopular with this world, but it may well give us the opportunity to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

–Neal Pollard

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it

GOD DIDN’T SAY Adam and Eve should avoid any flowering shrubs over a cubit tall…

He didn’t say to also avoid any plant life that is green on every other Wednesday, and on the opposing Wednesdays to avoid the red stuff.  None of the “leaves of three, let it be” nonsense.  Whether we are okay with what He did or not, God was clear: “Stay away from that one tree, all of the time.”

I have come to appreciate the risk of that tree for God — and the necessity of that tree for us.  Simply put, that tree made is real: it gave us choice.  God wasn’t looking to make some complicated hamsters that He could set up in a sweet cage.  He created us for real relationship with Him.  Real relationship simply cannot exist if you cannot choose something else other than that relationship.  We pity a woman whose husband or boyfriend keeps her locked in their house, monitors the few phone calls he allows her to have, and keeps even her family at arm’s length.  No one would call that love.

Had God not offered the tree and with the opportunity to rebel against Him, He would have been that guy.  Love that isn’t chosen is forced.  In giving us that tree and making the warning very clear, He gave us choice, even the option to reject His guidance and companionship.  He knew very well that decision would cost Him dearly, but it was what was best for us.  Jim Pace, “How Could He?”, Should We Fire God?, 60-61

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 3:15-17

Mike Benson

Accident Forgiveness

Josie wishes she could go back to bed. She searched for thirty minutes for her keys, only to find that her five-year-old had hidden them in the cookie jar.

Her sister asked her to keep her nieces, when Josie and her husband had their own date planned. Finally, their air conditioner appeared to be acting up.

As she hurried to the preschool, she reached for her phone. It was not there. Turning her head to look for it, she felt a huge jolt, bouncing her head back and forward. She screamed at the pain and shock, as she realized she had rear-ended another vehicle. She laid her head on the steering wheel, overwhelmed by frustration.

These type accidents can devastate our insurance rating and premiums. However, some insurance companies currently offer, “Accident Forgiveness.” In other words, “A program offered by some insurance companies that doesn’t raise premiums after an accident, regardless of who is at fault.” /1

We may not all have traffic accidents. However, in the spiritual world, we all have accidents. We are told that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV). Moreover, when we sin, we separate ourselves from God and cannot return, on our own ability (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 5:10).

When we have a traffic accident, we can debate endlessly who was at fault. However, spiritually, we have no one else to blame. We are all responsible for our own sins, whether accidental or intentional (Ezekiel 18:20).

When we make a mess of our lives, we find ourselves chained to them. There is nothing we can do, on our own, to remove the chains. We are alone with our sins.

Yet, God completely forgets our accidents, and they disappear completely from our record (Jeremiah 31:34).

We can come to Jesus and have our sins remitted through immersion, we are born again (John 3:3-5; Romans 6:3- 4). Christ died on the cross, so we can receive salvation (Romans 5:8-9). Afterward, we continue to live for Christ, in faith (Hebrews 11:6; Ephesians 4:1).

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).

In other words, as long as we live in Christ, God forgives all of our future accidents before they happen!

No company can ever match that plan! (2 Corinthians 9:15).

1/ http://tinyurl.com/266h2of

–Richard Mansel

Effective versus ineffective fathers

THE GENESIS ACCOUNT says Lot went to his sons-in-law and told them that there was trouble ahead (19:12), that the city was doomed, and that they’d better evacuate while the going was possible…

This is what the Bible says about their response:

“But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14).

The most serious moment in Lot’s life turned out to be a hysterically funny joke.  And why not?  What did they have to go on when Lot tried to offer special leadership?  His lifestyle?  The way he had lived in the past in Sodom?  He hadn’t talked about these things before; why should they be so excited when he suddenly raised these issues now?  Lot was no one to be talking about judgment; it certainly hadn’t marked his life before this.  He must be kidding.

Children do observe.  What do they see?  The answer separates the effective from the ineffective fathers.  The former takes note of the importance of exposure to his children — that every moment he is with them is a chance to make a positive impression for the purpose of character building and spirit development.  But the latter doesn’t see this.  His view of the family is one of simply living together and finding the home to be little more than a meeting place in which to eat, sleep, and have a little fun.  Gordon MacDonald, “Wear Shoes You Want to be Filled,”  The Effective Father, 99-100

“Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured…”  2 Timothy 3:10-11

–Mike Benson

Something God DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR!

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites all got sick…

They all caught a deadly virus.  It was far more virulent and lethal than the SARS virus that brought death an destruction to our world.  It was the G virus — the “grumble” germ…

All but two occurrences of “grumbling” in the Old Testament are found in six chapters of the Pentateuch: Exodus 15, 16, and 17, and Numbers 14, 16, and 17.  Of all the sins of the fathers, God counted this one of the worst.  It is one of Satan’s most effective weapons because it robs us of God and robs God of us!

Sometimes learning what God thinks about our grumbles helps us to deal with them.  First of all, God hears us when we gripe and grumble.  Numbers 11:18 says, “The LORD heard you when you wailed.”  Over and over again the Bible says that God heard the Israelites’ griping and their grumbling.  We need to know that God doesn’t want to hear it!

Our son and daughter-in-law have seven children.  There is a sign displayed in a prominent place in their kitchen that says briefly and succintly: “No whining!”  Whining is unacceptable behavior to those parents, and it is unacceptable to God .  It poisons the environment and spoils relationships.  It makes God sad to hear us whine, and it also makes Him mad!  “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD.  And when He heard them His anger was aroused” (Numbers 11:1).  God wants us to know that wailing and whining are unacceptable behaviors.  Jill Briscoe, “The Other Side of Redemption,” Here Am I Lord…Send Somebody Else!, 80-81

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Mike Benson

The story of Esther

IF I PERISH, I PERISH

The young people in one church had been studying the Book of Esther.  It was obviously that one boy had been paying attention when his family had Brussels sprouts for supper.  Spearing one and looking at it distastefully, he placed it in his mouth, saying, “If I perish, I perish.”

The story of Esther is one of the greatest stories of courage in the Bible.

When Mordecai realized that there was a plot to kill the Jews in Persia, he saw only one possibility to save them, and that was through Esther.  He asked Esther to go before the king and request that he rescind the decree and save the Jewish people.  But Esther was hesitant to do that because there was a law that said that anyone who went into the king’s court without an invitation could be put to death, and she hadn’t been invited for a month!

Mordecai sent another message to Esther that said, in effect, “Think, Esther.  The decree says all Jews.  It doesn’t exclude anybody in the king’s household.  You are a Jew and that means you’ve already been condemned to death.  If the king receives you, you’ve got a chance.  But even if he doesn’t, you’re no worse off.”

One of the most powerful verses in all the Bible is found in verse 14.  It’s a question that I believe every Christian should ask himself when he’s facing a difficult situation:  “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

“Esther, have you ever thought that maybe this is the reason why God put you in the position of being queen?  Did you think he did it just so you could have an easy life?  This is the reason God has brought you where you are.  Your presence in the palace is not by accident but by divine appointment.”

The time had come for Esther to make a choice.  She could approach the king and possibly lose her life, or she could remain silent and allow the annihilation of herself and her people.  She decided to stand for what was right.  And with the heroic words, “If I perish, I perish!” (4:16), she went to the king.

Has God put you in a position to make a difference to the people around you?  Like Esther, will you have the courage to respond, regardless of what the consequences may be?

Have a great day!

Alan Smith

I love you, too

Harsh Words by Stan Mitchell

I remember in college (extremely good memory, right?) going out after studies with friends. We were young and energetic, and with typical youthful zest, we would kid and tease each other.

Mostly this was all in good fun, but there were times when the teasing went too far, and someone was hurt. It was at this point that one friend made use of a gentle answer that kindly, yet effectively, put an end to the joking.

He would say, “I love you, too.”

The wise man of Proverbs says something similar:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (Proverbs 15:1, ESV).

We’ve all been there. In a marriage, or a discussion with friends, with a church problem, the emotions rise, the disagreements heats up, emotions are raw. Then, someone rises in anger, a bitter denunciation on his lips, on the cusp of being delivered.

This is a decisive moment, the instant when an angry word will ignite an explosion, or a gentle answer will douse the flames.

Next time you’re in that situation, think of a gentle answer.

www.forthright.net

Earliest Known Human Ancestors Lived Thousands Of Years Apart

Never mind Genesis 2:18-24.  In a Reuters story with the above title is also the subtitle, “Earliest Known Human Ancestors Lived Thousands Of Years Apart.”  You may ask, “How could this be?”  That is exactly the question expressed in the article.  Along comes Peter Underhill and his Stanford University colleagues with some very interesting answers.  Underhill said, “They had different molecular clocks.”

They believe Eve lived 143,000 years ago.  Adam came much later.  According to Underhill’s research, “genetic bottlenecks” in the male genetic legacy may have shortened it.

Now, I am not a doctor or even a Stanford researcher.  But as I read the article, I immediately had a question that the article does not even attempt to answer.  “If woman appeared tens of thousands of years before man, how did they have children?”  When was there a shift in the biology of the male and female anatomy from the way children were born then to the way we get them today?  When did a woman have a male child, and how?  Or did man evolve separately?”

Evolution cannot explain how a fertile “homo sapien” male and fertile “homo sapien” female could appear in the same generation in the same place, come together, and begin to perpetuate the human race.  Perhaps this is their attempt at an end run around the plain record of the Bible.  But it raises more questions and provides fewer answers.  But, so many times, the point does not seem to be providing positive proof of anything so much as it is disproving the accuracy of the Bible.  It seems to me that they have done neither.

Long ago, Paul warned Timothy to beware of “worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge'” (1 Tim. 6:20, NAS).  While the KJV uses the word “science” rather than knowledge, the Greek word is “gnosis” (which it translates “knowledge” the other 28 times it appears in the New Testament).  The Underhill project would certainly seem to be “worldly chatter,” undertaken to prove a godless theory.  It also seems like “empty chatter,” a fruitless discussion about matters already firmly settled by the Bible.  It is, by definition, an opposing argument from that stated in the Genesis account.  And, without doubt, it is “falsely called ‘knowledge.'”  1 Timothy 2:13 says, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”  Underhill says, “For Eve was first formed, then Adam.”  Remember when God warned Adam and Eve that, if they ate the “forbidden fruit,” they would “surely die”?  The serpent came along and contended, “You surely shall not die!” (Gen. 3:4).

Science, medicine and technology have brought us so far in increasing the quality and quantity of our lives today.  For that, be thankful!  But, be able to recognize arrogant attempts to disprove God and the Bible in favor of a rebellious humanism which desires to give no account of self to anyone.  Stay tuned, as there will certainly be other “stunning revelations” like this in the years ahead.

–Neal Pollard

Christian hymn *Almost Persuaded*

One Minute Late For The Plane

“Last call for Henderson and Hernandez.”  It was eleven minutes until the plane was scheduled to depart.  At ten minutes to departure, the airline released the seats for this party of two and allowed two passengers who had been victims of an oversell to board in their place.  At nine minutes to departure, here come Henderson and Hernandez.  They were husband and wife, and they had been swallowed up by the long security lines at George H.W. Bush International.  They were livid.  They were in disbelief.  They used very foul language.  They threatened.  They pleaded.  She was told of airline policy (actually, airlines can release seats fifteen minutes before departure), to which she responded, “But, we were only one minute late!”

One of the most sobering songs in our songbook is entitled “Almost Persuaded.”  The wording is drawn from Paul’s conversation with Agrippa in Acts 26, with the idea that many will come very close to becoming Christians but will tragically decide that Jesus is Lord too late (cf. Phil. 2:9-11).  Have you ever wondered who will be the last person deliberating the decision to become a Christian when the trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ rise?  Why do we delay?  And at what cost do we procrastinate?

I was not privy to what had happened to them that caused them to miss their flight.  Did their alarm fail them?  Were they involved in an auto incident?  Did they get lost?  That could explain things.  Or, they could have waited too long to leave the house, overslept, or failed to leave themselves the time to encounter a TSA terror.  But, one thing is certain.  Their tardiness kept them from boarding their flight.

What keeps many from success?  What will keep many from heaven?  They were going to do what they should, but they did not get around to it in time!  That has pertinence to our daily schedules and our overall success.  It has relevance to whether or not we go to heaven.  Do not live decide to live for Jesus even one minute too late!

–Neal Pollard