Archives for : September2014

Does truth exist?

“That,” someone says sweetly, “is just your interpretation of scripture. There are,” they add knowingly, “many other interpretations.”

“You know,” someone else says during a religious discussion, “that’s not what that passage means to me.”

There is in our society today only one absolute truth:
There is no absolute truth! There was a time when we admired a man for standing on conviction, expressing his beliefs even if they were unpopular. Today we call such a man a bigot.

“These truths we hold, well, uh, to be unreliable …”

You know, it’s funny, when we talk about morals and doctrine, there seem to be no truths that we can know for certain, but that’s not the way we behave in any other walk of life!

When a policeman pulls you over for speeding, you were either guilty of speeding, or you were not. It’s possible of course that the policeman’s mechanism was faulty. But in that case the truth is that you were not speeding.

Nashville is either the capital of Tennessee or it is not. You might wish it were not — you might prefer that the capital be Pinson. You’re allowed to have your opinion about which town should be the capital, but until some change is made, your opinion does not change the truth one whit. The state capital is still the Music City.

Truth frees us. “You shall know the truth,” Jesus declares, “and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32John 8:32
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32 and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

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“Sanctify them by the truth,” he declares elsewhere, “your word is truth” (John 17:17John 17:17
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17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.

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Without truth, there are a lot of people still in bondage. There are a lot of people who have not been sanctified.

I’m sorry — that’s the truth!

by Stan Mitchell

What will we do with scripture?

When would you be willing to abandon your intended goal in order to allow scripture to carry you on its ebb and flow? The Christian knee-jerk response is predictable.
I’m always ready to follow scripture! Really?

Whether preacher, non-Christian or Christian, we all face this question in practical ways.

Consider the plight of the preacher who wants his sermon to bless the congregation with a particular message. He selects a Biblical text. However, as he digs into that passage of scripture he confronts an unwelcome discovery.

Perhaps the biblical message does not fit his theological outlook. Perhaps the message within this portion of scripture is running in a slightly different direction than where he wants to go.

Will he force a parable or snippet from Paul to bend his knee to his will and great ideas? Or will he cut anchor to allow the deep current of scripture to carry him where it wants to go?

Think this is a hypothetical situation? As one who has stood before a congregation on a weekly basis, it is not.

In fact, this question of whether to follow scripture or insist upon what we deem is good, confronts anyone who listens to God’s word.

Whether someone is a follower of Christ or not, each of us will discover at one time or another an uncomfortable message within God’s Word. Perhaps the clear biblical message about lifestyles or salvation does not fit into what we value and like.

Maybe our Christian outlook is so shaped by obedience that we feel compelled to reign in what it teaches about grace. Or perhaps we are so stepped in grace, that we desire to pummel into submission any voice about obedience within the text.

What will we do with scripture?

From within Ecclesiastes we hear that there is an appropriate time for every type of activity (Ecclesiastes 3:1Ecclesiastes 3:1
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3 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

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7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

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When we encounter that time when what we want the text to proclaim differs from its actual voice, it is the time to tear ourselves away from what we might be confident is a great idea in order to hear God’s message.

I have lost track of how many times the lesson I have presented was not the sermon I had set out to preach. I guess that is good. Hopefully, the congregation heard God’s word and not my thinking.

–by Barry Newton @ www.forthright.net

The chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death

“Let’s Kill Lazarus…”

It is impossible to read the sentence without some incredulity. John records, “…The chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death…” (John 12:10John 12:10
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10 But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus also to death;

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Think about that word–”priests.” It’s plural.

One spiritual leader didn’t scheme to murder Lazarus; many spiritual leaders schemed to murder Lazarus. And these guys were supposed to be the religious right–the moral elite of ancient Jewish society!

The ESV says, “…The chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well.” “As well…” In truth, they didn’t want to murder just one man, but two. They wanted to kill Jesus (cf. 11:53) and Lazarus.

“Why?” you may ask. Re-read John 12:9-11John 12:9-11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 The common people therefore of the Jews learned that he was there: and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11 because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

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. A great many Jews believed in Jesus. And why did a great many believe in Jesus? Because Lazarus had been raised from the dead.

Remember that the Sadducees taught that there was no resurrection (cf. Matt. 22:23-28Matt. 22:23-28
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23 On that day there came to him Sadducees, they that say that there is no resurrection: and they asked him, 24 saying, Teacher, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first married and deceased, and having no seed left his wife unto his brother; 26 in like manner the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And after them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

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). Unfortunately for them, Lazarus illustrated that their dogma was at obvious variance with the Biblical data. He was a living, breathing entity despite the fact that he had been entombed for four days (11:39).

Lazarus was concrete evidence to the contrary; he was the doctrinal deathblow to their misguided, man-made tradition.

It was impossible for the chief priests to argue with or against him. Any sane, thoughtful, sincere individual wouldn’t even attempt to debate with Lazarus. He was absolute proof that Jesus could perform miracles. He was the undeniable corroboration of the divinity of Christ (cf. John 20:30-31John 20:30-31
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30 Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.

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And that’s why the chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus and Jesus.

A few thoughts rattle around in my neocortex as I ponder this curious incident:

If Jesus could resurrect a dead man, why did the chief priests entertain the idea of killing Lazarus in the first place? Couldn’t Jesus resurrect Lazarus again, if he so desired? What this teaches me is that you can’t expect coherent thinking and behavior from people who insist on upholding their agenda over truth. If Jesus could, and obviously did, bring a dead man back to life–as Jesus had also done on previous occasions–e.g., the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17Luke 7:11-17
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11 And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went to a city called Nain; and his disciples went with him, and a great multitude. 12 Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, there was carried out one that was dead, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came nigh and touched the bier: and the bearers stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. 16 And fear took hold on all: and they glorified God, saying, A great prophet is arisen among us: and, God hath visited his people. 17 And this report went forth concerning him in the whole of Judaea, and all the region round about.

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) and the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:40-56Luke 8:40-56
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40 And as Jesus returned, the multitude welcomed him; for they were all waiting for him. 41 And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him to come into his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as he went the multitudes thronged him. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, who had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of any, 44 came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately the issue of her blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who is it that touched me? And when all denied, Peter said, and they that were with him, Master, the multitudes press thee and crush thee. 46 But Jesus said, Some one did touch me; for I perceived that power had gone forth from me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people for what cause she touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Teacher. 50 But Jesus hearing it, answered him, Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came to the house, he suffered not any man to enter in with him, save Peter, and John, and James, and the father of the maiden and her mother. 52 And all were weeping, and bewailing her: but he said, Weep not; for she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he, taking her by the hand, called, saying, Maiden, arise. 55 And her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately: and he commanded that something be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed: but he charged them to tell no man what had been done.

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)–wouldn’t that serve as affirmation of his divine power? Had the chief priests really thought about the futility of trifling with the miracle Man of God? The chief priests in John’s story remind me of a critical point: unbelief is not due to a lack of evidence; unbelief is due to a lack of conviction. People don’t reject the truth because there are no facts; they reject the truth despite the facts.

Even when there is incontrovertible testimony, some folks simply choose not to believe. If their hearts are hard and their motives are impure, you can expect them to be antagonist towards truth and to engage in sinful, destructive behavior.

On the other hand, if their hearts are soft and their motives are pure, you can expect them to investigate, believe in, and follow the Lord.

Was the world created in six literal days? Is there life beyond this transient walk? Is immersion necessary in order to be saved from sin? Is it possible to live in adultery? Is homosexual behavior sinful? It depends.  It depends on whether or not a person wants the truth and is willing to follow it to its inevitable conclusion.

The chief priests weren’t willing to do that. Dear reader, are you (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:102 Thessalonians 2:10
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10 and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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–by Mike Benson

Christians and non-Christians

“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2Philippians 4:2
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2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord.

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“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak
the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:101 Corinthians 1:10
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10 Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

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It is generally accepted that there is a distinctive difference between the eastern and western mind.

Certainly there are no significant organic differences, nor is that is what is meant by the distinction. Rather the observation has to do with differences in the way people of different cultures think, reason, and learn.

Processes of thought which seem perfectly logical and undisputable in one culture may make little or no sense to people of another. A given set of facts may lead two groups to completely differing conclusions.

Peter noted that Christians are a distinctive culture with different rules of logic and different goals and attitudes.

“In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:41 Peter 4:4
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4 wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

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In other words, unbelievers just don’t understand Christians.

It is in part that change of thinking which results from becoming a Christian.

“If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24Ephesians 4:22-24
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22 that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

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We are Christians because we have learned Christ and therefore desire to be like him. We continue to change our thinking (i.e., renew our mind) in order to continue to apply those things which we have learned, that we may become even more like him.

This idea of a new mind–a different way of thinking–is given an additional application in Scripture. Since Jesus taught one truth (John 8:32; 17:17John 8:32; 17:17
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32 and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.

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), its effect on everyone should be the same. All Christian’s minds have been renewed from the same source, modified for the same purpose.

That means simply that Christians should think alike.
The distinction between Christian thought and worldly thought is just one side of the story. The other is the like-mindedness that each Christian is to share with all others.

This does not apply only to doctrinal interpretations (though it certainly does apply to those). It also means that two quarreling sisters in Christ should settle their dispute amicably and get along in peace and love (Philippians 4:2Philippians 4:2
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2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord.

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It means that rival factions in a congregation must maintain unity and come to an agreement, not only on matters of faith, but also those of judgment (1 Corinthians 1:101 Corinthians 1:10
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10 Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

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How can humans come to such similarity of thinking? The New Testament gives us the answer:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4Philippians 2:3-4
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3  doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.

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That is precisely what the world (whether east or west) will not do. Only if we truly submit to Jesus Christ and his love can we achieve this likeness of mind.

by Michael E. Brooks
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Why our youth are leaving the Lord & church

Young people leave the Lord for a host of reasons including flawed parenting, ineffective ministries, poor decisions, disenchantment and the attitudes of Church members. Every aspect of a congregation should be examined, so we can retain them and help them grow closer to the Lord.

Often, older Christians forget their own youth and fail to identify the challenges young people face. Christians who did not grow up in the internet age do not understand the extraordinary obstacles our youth face today.

The moral dilemmas of our culture, in some ways, dwarf those of previous eras. Accordingly, these young people need our prayers and support.

Two facts come into play to empower Satan in pulling these young people away from God and their parents.

First, many young people do not have any concept of mortality. It never occurs to them that they can die. Even if they have had friends that died, it does not seem to penetrate their version of reality.

Young people will take chances with sex, drugs, alcohol, driving and stupid stunts because they feel indestructible. They know they will be safe in the end, so all they risk is a little discomfort. Moreover, they often believe that they have all knowledge and their omniscience will be a safety net.

Second, social status is the single important force in the universe to most young people. Being embarrassed in front of their peers is more terrifying than anything a horror movie can create. Accordingly, their peers become their moral barometer and lead them to destruction (Proverbs 4:14-17; 5:1-5; 6:24-29Proverbs 4:14-17; 5:1-5; 6:24-29
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14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, And walk not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it; Turn from it, and pass on. 16 For they sleep not, except they do evil; And their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence. 5 1 My son, attend unto my wisdom; Incline thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest preserve discretion, And that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold on Sheol; 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, From the flattery of the foreigner's tongue. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thy heart; Neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread; And the adulteress hunteth for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk upon hot coals, And his feet not be scorched? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbor's wife; Whosoever toucheth her shall not be unpunished.

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These two facts intersect to endanger our young people. If they do not feel a sense of mortality and they are horrified at displeasing their peers, they will be likely to go against their upbringing morally and rationalize their behavior, so as to maintain inner harmony.

They will live dual lives while they are under the roofs of their parents. Yet, when they are free, their moral decisions will lead them down different paths.

A middle-aged person will face ridicule from a few people at work and ignore it. A young teen will think their world is over and contemplate suicide. Young brains work differently and we must be aware of that.

We must do what we can so that our young Christians have healthier peer groups that will encourage and strengthen them. Likewise, they need to see us making right decisions and turning to God’s Word as the answer to life’s challenges, rather than friends or the world.

Knowledge is a lot of the battle and we can use these facts to help salvage the spiritual lives of our youth, before it is too late. Love, patience, prayer and empathy are of inestimable value in this war. Utilize them today.

Richard Mansel

Self-control is a Christian Virtue

A man visited a psychiatrist. He explained, “I’ve been doing wrong, Doctor, and my conscience is bothering me.” The psychiatrist asked, “So you want something that will strengthen your will?” The fellow replied, “Oh, no. I’d rather have something that would weaken my conscience.”

Konrad Heiden said, “Those who wish to transform the world must be able to transform themselves.”

WE NEED TO MASTER SELF-CONTROL
The wise man said in Proverbs 25:28Proverbs 25:28
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28 He whose spirit is without restraint Is like a city that is broken down and without walls.

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, “a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
Self-mastery is mentioned as a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:23Gal 5:23
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23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

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) and a Christian grace (2 Peter 1:62 Peter 1:6
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6 and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness;

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). Peter calls on us to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:81 Peter 5:8
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8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,

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It will serve as a part of judgment: In Act 24:25Act 24:25
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25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, Go thy way for this time; and when I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me.

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, Paul “reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” in front of Felix. In view of the end, again Peter says, “be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:71 Peter 4:7
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7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer:

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WE MUST EMULATE JESUS CHRIST
“If you would learn self-mastery, begin by yielding yourself to the One Great Master” – Johann Friedrich Lobstein
Jesus – remember – never sinned. Therefore, everything He did, He did at the right time, in the right way, for the right reason. Everything was right. How?  How did Jesus exercise such great self-control?
1.    Jesus was committed to what was true and right (Matthew 3:15Matthew 3:15
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15 But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffereth him.

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2.    He submitted Himself always to the will of God the Father (Matthew 4).
3.    Jesus did not give in to temporary impulses like the disciples did during the storm of Galilee in Matthew 8:23-27Matthew 8:23-27
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23 And when he was entered into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Save, Lord; we perish. 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?

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4.    Jesus did not seek revenge (Matthew 9:10-13Matthew 9:10-13
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10 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Teacher with the publicans and sinners? 12 But when he heard it, he said, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

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5.    Jesus did not react (Matt. 9:24Matt. 9:24
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24 he said, Give place: for the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

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6.    Jesus did not control other men’s behavior but He always controlled the situation because He always controlled Himself (Matthew 12).
7.    Sometimes Jesus secluded Himself for a brief period of prayer (Matt. 14:13Matt. 14:13
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13 Now when Jesus heard it, he withdrew from thence in a boat, to a desert place apart: and when the multitudes heard thereof, they followed him on foot from the cities.

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8.    Jesus always calmly, lovingly but firmly spoke the truth even to His closest friends (Matt. 16:23Matt. 16:23
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23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men.

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9.    Self-control is entrusting yourself into the hands of God, regardless of what that might entail.  That’s how Jesus was able to endure and experience the suffering He did during His trial and crucifixion without reacting. He did that all of His life, from the beginning (Luke 2:49Luke 2:49
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49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? knew ye not that I must be in my Father's house?

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46 And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the ghost.

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Lydia Huntley Sigourney said: “Self-control is promoted by humility. Pride is a fruitful source of uneasiness.” Similarly, the apostle Paul challenges us: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3Rom. 12:3
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3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith.

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Exercise self-control and the fight against sin will be much easier.

Your fellow-servant in Christ,
Paul
Veritas non verba magistri
Maranatha! (1 Cor. 16:221 Cor. 16:22
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22 If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha.

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Am I a righteous person?

****This will be the last article till 9/23*****

“A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge,”(Proverbs 29:7Proverbs 29:7
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7 The righteous taketh knowledge of the cause of the poor; The wicked hath not understanding to know it.

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The man walked into his home, and sat down to think.
The news that his fiancée was pregnant had stunned him.
He knew he was not the father, for they had not had sexual relations. Who then?

He was hurt, and angry. He was a man with a reputation for being righteous. So what would he do? Condemn an obvious betrayal? Show this woman up for the wanton and immoral person she apparently was? After all, that’s what righteous people do!

Matthew records that “because he was a righteous man,”
Joseph did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace, and resolved to put her away “quietly” (Matthew 1:19Matthew 1:19
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19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

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There is always an element of mercy in a righteous person. Now for the self-righteous person, that’s another matter. The self-righteous love to expose others’ mistakes, and succumb to acute amnesia with regard to their own!

The self-righteous condemns the poor as lazy and dishonest; they expose the sinful as evil and malevolent. The truly righteous, however, care about the poor, and seek to restore the sinful.

After all, the most righteous person who ever lived
declared: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” ( Matthew 5:7Matthew 5:7
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7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

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by Stan Mitchell

A note on the table

“Her children rise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her. ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all’”(Proverbs 31:28Proverbs 31:28
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28 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:

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, ESV).

The note was on the table when Bob found it. He should have known better. He maintained his car constantly, adjusting the timing like a symphony hall conductor, changing the oil regularly, doing all the work with his own hands. His car purred more softly than their Persian cat.

But a man who understood cars so well should have understood his wife better. He was a good man, provided well for his family, and would have given his shirt off his back to a stranger. He loved Stacy, in his strong, quiet way. But he never praised her, rarely thanked her.

A man who checked his car daily, who understood that a car doesn’t run smoothly, had no idea what kind of lubricant smoothed over the most important relationship in his life. He had taken her for granted.

The note read: “Bob, I’ve moved out. Try as I might, I can’t do anything that makes you happy. If only you had told me once that you appreciated what I did. Perhaps now you will learn that meals don’t cook themselves, and clothes don’t wash themselves.”

The hard part was that he had. He just hadn’t said so. He just thought that she understood. “Guess I thought she had mental telepathy,” he muttered to himself.

He sat down on the couch and began, belatedly, to plan how to do a complete service on the marriage.

–Stan Mitchell – www.forthright.net

The Refuse Gate

Katmandu’s streets are regularly lined with garbage as the people pile the trash from their homes there to be shoveled into trucks and hauled away. Those pickups are irregular and often infrequent, so that the piles of refuse appear constant. They impede traffic and pedestrians since there are limited sidewalks and little room in the streets.

The sights and smells produced by this system are offensive to those unaccustomed to such.

Landfills, garbage dumps, and other means of disposal are matters of distaste, but also of great importance.
Doing something with our abundant waste is a practical necessity, but no one enjoys dealing with it, or seeing and smelling it in close proximity.

Get rid of it–move it out of sight and consciousness –that is our desire.

The prophets of Israel and Judah were often given odd and difficult assignments. Hosea was commanded to marry an adulterous woman (Hosea 1:2Hosea 1:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 When Jehovah spake at the first by Hosea, Jehovah said unto Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom; for the land doth commit great whoredom, departing from Jehovah.

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). Ezekiel had to lay on his left side on the ground without rising for 390 days, then on his right side for another 40 days (Ezekiel 4:4, 6Ezekiel 4:4, 6
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4 Moreover lie thou upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity. 6 And again, when thou hast accomplished these, thou shalt lie on thy right side, and shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days, each day for a year, have I appointed it unto thee.

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).

God once gave a command to Jeremiah that does not at first appear unusual or particularly demanding (Jeremiah 19:1-2Jeremiah 19:1-2
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19 1 Thus said Jehovah, Go, and buy a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the elders of the people, and of the elders of the priests; 2 and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the gate Harsith, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee;

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). He was simply told to go to a certain part of Jerusalem and preach. However, when one examines the geography of ancient Jerusalem, the instructions take on a different light.

The Potsherd Gate in the southern wall of the city was also known as the “Refuse Gate” (see Nehemiah 12:31Nehemiah 12:31
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31 Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies that gave thanks and went in procession; whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate:

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).
Gates were often named for their geographical location, or for their primary function.

The name “Refuse Gate” suggests that it was the route used by the inhabitants of Jerusalem to dump their garbage outside the city. Its location on the south side fits the tradition that the valley of Hinnom served as the garbage dump for Jerusalem.

Jeremiah was assigned to preach at the town dump. That doesn’t sound particularly enjoyable, nor does it seem likely to be very productive. How often do we reason that the Church needs a nice, impressive building so that worshippers will be comfortable and visitors will enjoy their experience?

When we plan evangelistic activity we spruce things up, put on a good front, and make things as attractive as possible. After all, “God wants our best,” and “first impressions are all important.”

Jeremiah reminds us that there is a grim and unpleasant side of our mission. Sin is ugly. Sinners have declared themselves to be God’s enemies (Romans 8:7Romans 8:7
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7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:

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). There is garbage in our lives that must be eradicated.

Years ago there was a cartoon strip which featured a character whose stated mission was to “minister to the rich and famous.” There is great appeal in going to the pretty, comfortable places of the world to preach the gospel. Yet it is often in the garbage heaps that our witness is most needed, and it is there that our work may be most productive.

The fact is that the stinking streets of Katmandu are probably a much more fertile field for evangelism than the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. The ghettos and slums of our cities produce more sincere listeners (most of the time at least) than the country club neighborhoods.

Jeremiah’s chosen location probably had more to do with the symbolism which gave weight to his message than to the willingness of his audience, but the application is still valid.

We must not shy away from the garbage heaps when we go out to do the work of God. Sin is not pretty. Sinners live in filth, metaphorically, but often literally as well. We must go where they are if we hope to reach them with the saving Gospel.

Michael E. Brooks @ www.forthright.net

Am I rich?

The Census Bureau’s definition of poverty is far different than the one most of us would use.

“When the Census Bureau defines ‘poverty,’ though, it winds up painting more than 40 million Americans — one in seven — as “poor.”/1

One commentator noted:

“Most news stories on poverty feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens. The actual living conditions of America’s poor are far different from these images.”/2

When we look at the definition of the Census Bureau, the portrait of the poor looks dramatically different than we would expect.

Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:/3

Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.

Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

Someone who has all of these things would be living like a king in most places on earth. Wealth in one area, is poverty in another. The cost of living makes a huge impact and people move around the world to find manageable economies.

The wonderful thing about the Lord is that the definition of spiritual wealth never changes. God is always dependable (Hebrews 13:5Hebrews 13:5
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5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.

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). We can always know where we stand with the Lord (Romans 8:1Romans 8:1
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8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

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). If we are immersed into Christ, and serve him faithfully, we will never be lost and will be spiritually wealthy (Acts 2:37,47Acts 2:37,47
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37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

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; Galatians 3:27Galatians 3:27
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27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

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; Ephesians 4:1Ephesians 4:1
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4 1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called,

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).

When we gather around the Lord’s table, we need to remember that we were in spiritual poverty before Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-11Romans 5:6-11
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6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

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). Because of his death, we are rich in blessings. The body and blood of Jesus are our ticket out of spiritual poverty and into the glories of heaven.

Let us never forget the price our Lord paid for these blessings.

___________

1/ http://tinyurl.com/3lwr57q

2/ Ibid

3/ Ibid

–Richard Mansel @ www.forthright.net

 

THEY WOULD NOT BOW, THEY WOULD NOT BEND, THEY WOULD NOT BURN

A decree went forth from the king. All in the kingdom must worship the great image he had created or be killed. The time of worship would be announced with the playing of several musical instruments. Everyone was to fall down to the image!

Three individuals, slaves, refused to bow down. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Jewish slaves taken in the captivity, would not worship the image of the king. They remained stedfast in their service to God regardless of the consequences. When they were brought before the king for their failure to bow down, they were given an opportunity to bow down or else be punished. Faced with this threat, they still refused to bow to the image. The king had them tossed into the fiery furnace, but they did not die. They came forth from the furnace unscathed (Daniel 3)

THEY WOULD NOT BOW. God had instructed his people that he was God and that they should not build graven images and worship them (Exodus 20:1-3Exodus 20:1-3
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20 1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

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). These men were faithful to God and refused to obey the desires of worldly people.

THEY WOULD NOT BEND. Unlike many today, when the pressure to yield to the world’s desire was upon them they would not bend. They were going to be faithful to God regardless of any personal consequences (Daniel 3:16-18Daniel 3:16-18
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16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

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). God had warned his people that they should not follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2Exodus 23:2
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2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to wrest justice:

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). Unlike Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, too many today fold in their allegiance to God when the world exerts even the slightest pressure. Children of God must remain stedfast in their allegiance to God (I Corinthians 15:58).

THEY WOULD NOT BURN. When cast into the fiery furnace, they did not burn, nor were they singed (Daniel 3:27Daniel 3:27
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27 And the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their hosen changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them.

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). Today, if we remain faithful to God, we will not “burn”, i.e., we will not have a part in the lake of fire and brimstone. The unfaithful will be punished forever (Revelation 21:8Revelation 21:8
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8 But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.

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; Matthew 25:46Matthew 25:46
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46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

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).

–Charles Coats (deceased)

I’LL KEEP ON TILL THEY QUIT

There once was an older man who went out jogging. He was running around a track that circled the high school football field while the team was conducting their practice. When the football players began running their sprints up and down the field, the man said to himself, “I’ll just keep run­ning until they quit.” So they ran. And he ran. And they kept on running. So he kept on running.

Finally, in total exhaustion the man had to stop. When he stopped, an equally exhausted football player walked over to him and said, “Boy, I’m glad you finally stopped, Mister. Our coach told us that we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging!”

It seems to me that we can sometimes find ourselves in a similar kind of situation when it comes to anger and conflict. We have a disagreement with someone and get into an argument. Voices get raised. Neither side wants to be the first to give in, to stop speaking in anger. Everyone has the attitude, “I’ll just keep on till they quit.” So the other party stays mad. So we stay mad. And on we go, eventually finding ourselves emotionally and even physically exhausted by the ongoing animosity.

Let me challenge you to do something very difficult. The next time you get in an argument, be the first to give in. Be the first to stop the yelling and the name-calling. Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” It’s the quickest way to stop the vicious cycle.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1Proverbs 15:1
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15 1 A soft answer turneth away wrath; But a grievous word stirreth up anger.

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Have a great day!

Alan Smith

The Happiness of Pursuit

The more I learn, the more I am amazed how God has adapted Christianity to the needs of mankind. Let’s begin by citing Paul’s words from Philippians 3:10-14Philippians 3:10-14
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10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; 11 if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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, wherein he writes that he wants to know Christ “the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

God has designed man in such a way that we cannot attain perfection here on earth but He challenges us to grow and strive for perfection with it being ultimately available on the other side of death. Learn. Grow. Mature. Strive. Reach forward. Don’t be content with who you are right now. Jesus is the standard of perfection.

Author and psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky writes in The Myths of Happiness, that we are happier in our pursuit. She writes, “if we enjoy the struggle along the way, we will derive pleasure and satisfaction by simply pursuing or working on our goal. We will ideally stretch our skills, discover novel opportunities, grow, strive, learn, and become more capable and expert. …Furthermore, goal pursuit in and of itself imparts structure and meaning to our daily lives, creating obligations, deadlines, and timetables, as well as opportunities for mastering new skills and for interacting with others” (137).

Now, think about how God has designed this world. Think about the challenges you have in your own life – the challenges to grow and mature.

Before he wrote those words in Philippians 3, Paul wrote these words in chapter 2: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (vss 3-4). Had Paul reached perfection in just these few virtues? No. He tells us himself that he had not reached spiritual perfection.

But the joy is in the striving, the pursuit. In Lyubomirsky’s words, it is the “deadlines and timetables, as well as opportunities for mastering new skills and for interacting with others.” If we obtained moral perfection the moment we were baptized into Christ, what else would there be to do, spiritually speaking?

God designed the human mind and the human heart to desire growth and maturity. Contests, sports, games, other challenges show that the human spirit was designed to seek after victory, to challenge ourselves even as we challenge others. We want to win. We want to stretch ourselves, to see how far we can go.

Ultimately, God set that urge in our hearts in spiritual matters. To conquer our own egos, our desire for revenge, our desire for self. He challenges us to control our tongues, our attitudes, our behavior. That all implies growth. And it all involves pursuit – the happy pursuit of holiness (cf. Heb. 12:14Heb. 12:14
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14 Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord:

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).

Christianity, as it is, is adapted to man, as he is.

– Paul Holland

 

Reasons to praise God

NOTE:  A revised Greek word study app for Android devices is now available (for free) at http://bit.ly/1tMqlAW

“O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord”—Psalms 117:1-2Psalms 117:1-2
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117 1 O praise Jehovah, all ye nations; Laud him, all ye peoples. 2 For his lovingkindness is great toward us; And the truth of Jehovah endureth for ever. Praise ye Jehovah.

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Our praise to God equates to an expression of gratitude on our part for his loving kindness seen in his mercy, grace and deliverance (1 John 3:11 John 3:1
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3 1 Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

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, Col. 1:14-16Col. 1:14-16
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14 in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins: 15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him;

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). Praise him because he gives and sustains life. Praise him because his love is one that cannot be measured by human standards (Rom. 5:8Rom. 5:8
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8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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, Heb. 5:7-8Heb. 5:7-8
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7 Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered;

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). Praise him because his truth endures forever and what he has promised to do, he will do (1 Pet. 1:251 Pet. 1:25
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25 But the word of the Lord abideth for ever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you.

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, Heb. 6:17-19Heb. 6:17-19
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17 Wherein God, being minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: 19 which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering into that which is within the veil;

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). Hear the Psalmist as he says, “Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart….” (Ps. 111:1Ps. 111:1
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111 1 Praise ye Jehovah. I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart, In the council of the upright, and in the congregation.

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). Our praise to God should come from hearts filled with a love for him that will let nothing interfere with a full, complete surrender to his will. Lovingly trusting him, we turn our lives over to him, take his hand in ours and with praises on our lips for his goodness and mercy we make our way down the pathway of life (Micah 6:8Micah 6:8
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8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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, Luke 2:20Luke 2:20
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20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them.

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, Acts 2:47Acts 2:47
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47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

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). Paul tells us to be thankful in everything for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:181 Thess. 5:18
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18 in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.

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). Being thankful for the blessings, temporal as well as spiritual, that God has blessed us with should cause us to praise him not only in our worship assemblies but also in our walk with him each day (Ps. 18:49Ps. 18:49
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49 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah, among the nations, And will sing praises unto thy name.

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, Rom. 15:9-11Rom. 15:9-11
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9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, Therefore will I give praise unto thee among the Gentiles, And sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; And let all the peoples praise him.

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). During the course of my 80 years of life on this earth, I have experienced moments of joy beyond measure and I have also walked through one of the deepest, most agonizing moments that can ever be experienced by a mortal human being and undoubtedly the same is true with each of you. But I tell you in this hour, I am convinced today that we can always find something to be thankful for that will cause us to lift up our voice in praise to our God (Rom. 8:28,31Rom. 8:28,31
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28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

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). As a faithful child of God, we never take one step in this life alone (Heb. 13:5Heb. 13:5
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5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.

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).

We live in a time in which America needs to hear and heed the Psalmist cry to praise God. Too often we apply this principle only to temporal affairs of our lives overlooking the fact that it also applies not only to our spiritual lives but also to the spiritual life of our nation. When a nation of people make God an integral part of their lives, praising and honoring him, they will become an exalted nation. On the other hand when a nation of people become steeped in sin, when they begin to embrace those things that are abominable in the sight of God, when immorality permeates its society, when a nation of people begin to call evil good and good evil, then that nation will become despicable in God’s sight (Rom. 1:18-32Rom. 1:18-32
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18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: 25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. 28 And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: 32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.

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, Gal. 5:19-21Gal. 5:19-21
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19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

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). Today, in America, the words of Proverbs 14:34Proverbs 14:34
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34 Righteousness exalteth a nation; But sin is a reproach to any people.

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need to be shouted from the rooftops: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people”.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all ye people here below—Psalms 22:23, 148:7Psalms 22:23, 148:7
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23 Ye that fear Jehovah, praise him; All ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; And stand in awe of him, all ye the seed of Israel.

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.

Charles Hicks

Christ “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed

Flailing & Failing

Keith Wishum recently recalled an atypical athlete of the 2000 Summer Olympics…

Eric Moussambani made a big splash at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, becoming an instant CNN celebrity for his performance in the 100-meter freestyle swimming. No, Eric didn’t win a medal. The only record he might have set would be for the slowest time ever. His 1:52is 1:52
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swim took over twice as long as the fastest time.

Wishum reports that Eric literally made a splash in the pool upon his entry into the water. He thrashed wildly. He swam with his head out of the water, with his arms flailing, and with his civilian style swim trunks billowing like a parachute in the pool. When he finished, he was completely exhausted; it was the first time he ever swam 100 meters without stopping!

What was Eric doing swimming in the Olympics with the best-trained athletes of the world?

Wishum answers: Eric was representing his tiny, impoverished country of Equatorial Guinea in West Africa as part of a special program designed to encourage participation from countries without previous Olympic experience. Eric just started swimming eight months before the Games and had trained only in a twenty-meter hotel pool. He was allowed in only when guests weren’t using the pool.

Compared to the other Olympic athletes, Eric’s efforts in the pool were laughable. But 17,000 spectators, identifying with an unknown, unqualified swimmer struggling to proudly represent his tiny homeland, did not laugh. Instead, they rose to their feet. They cheered. They applauded thunderously, encouraging the awkward hero to finish his race. They loved him, not for his speed or style, but for his heart. *

Compared with the sinless perfection of Christ, our best efforts are laughable. We flail and fail; we sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23Romans 3:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

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)

But God loves us so much that He gave His sinlessly perfect Son to take our sins upon Himself and suffer the punishment for them so that we might have forgiveness and receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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; Ephesians 1:7Ephesians 1:7
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7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

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). Christ “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:241 Peter 2:24
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24 who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.

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).

God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31Acts 16:30-31
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30 and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.

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), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31Acts 17:30-31
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30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: 31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

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), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10Romans 10:9-10
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9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38Acts 2:38
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38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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). Then, as we seek to follow in the steps of the Savior and walk in the light of His Word, He will applaud our flawed but faithful efforts and – by His grace – continue to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:71 John 1:7
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7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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).

Keith Wishum observed, “the most important thing Eric found was not fame, but GRACE” …. and that’s what we ALL need!

Won’t YOU submit to the Savior so that you may receive His saving grace?

David A. Sargent