Archives for : February2015

Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up

“Under three things the earth trembles, under four it
cannot bear up. A slave when he becomes king, and a
fool who is full of food; an unloved woman when she
gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces
her mistress” (Proverbs 30:21-23Proverbs 30:21-23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 For three things the earth doth tremble, And for four, which it cannot bear: 22 For a servant when he is king; And a fool when he is filled with food; 23 For an odious woman when she is married; And a handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

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, ESV).

It was Barry Goldwater who said: “The United States is
a wonderful country where anyone can grow up to be
president…except me.”

We like the idea that in America, anyone who works hard
will get ahead. But it doesn’t always work like that.

Josh had worked hard in his firm for twenty years. His
first job was right out of high school doing errands.
He didn’t have the college training some of the others
had, but he made up for it in long hours and effort.

When his boss offered him the plant manager job, no one
was surprised; he had earned the chance. Here was a
rags-to-riches story that should have warmed the heart.

But he surprised his colleagues by becoming dictatorial
and unreasonable. The people he managed began to
fiercely resent his high-handed manner. He began to
wear eight hundred dollar suits and drive fancy cars.

Clearly the promotion had gone to his head. It
shouldn’t have, because he of all people should have
known what it was like for the ordinary folk, the ones
who sweated on the workshop floors, the ones who were
just starting out with families at the bottom end of
the rung.

Within a year management realized their mistake, and
Josh was transferred to a branch in North Dakota, the
business’ version of the Siberian salt mines.

Like a servant who becomes king, then takes on “airs,”
or an old maid who suddenly becomes a bride, then
treats her new husband with disdain, Josh had allowed
his good fortune to go to his head. He had forgotten
where he came from.

As Will Rogers once said, even a president is nothing
more than “our hired help.”

by Stan Mitchell

Do we look like Jesus because we too spend time with those outside of Christ?

Questions can reveal so much. Luke records that on one occasion the religious leaders complained to Jesus’

disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Their attitude behind this question unmasks how repugnant this behavior seemed to them. Apparently, these religious leaders could not comprehend why anyone would rub shoulders and enter into the fellowship time of eating a meal with the sinfully stained. Their question exposed their value system.

Evidently, even before the disciples could defend their actions, Jesus explained why he spent time with the despised tax collectors and those with sullied reputations. He was on a mission to call sinners to repentance.

Values had clashed. Jesus promoted an active mindset where people mattered, not defensively protecting oneself through isolation.

However, this still leaves the question ringing in the air.

Why were the disciples spending time with people possessing reproachable reputations? Were they just guilty by association as those tagging along behind Jesus? Did they identify more with sinners than with saints? Were they actively learning how to live like Jesus? Or had they already captured something of Jesus’ sense of mission to the lost?

Answers can also reveal so much. Do we look like Jesus because we too spend time with those outside of Christ? Even more to the point, if we eat and drink with non-Christians what is our motive and purpose?

by Barry Newton @ www.forthright.net

The power of women

I often hear one of my co-workers speak of “women power” at my home congregation.

He points out that much of what is accomplished in the Lord’s service is due to the efforts of so many godly ladies who work and worship in our congregation.

He’s spot on. Our women move mountains in their homes, in the congregation, in the community, as well as abroad (e.g., Tanzania).

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading through Exodus 2, in preparation for an upcoming sermon. And the more I’ve poured over the text, the more I can’t help but notice a certain feminine prowess at work:

Jochebed, in direct defiance of Pharaoh’s orders, hid her precious son for three months (v. 2).

When she could no longer hide him, she prepared an ark- basket, placed her son (and heart) within, and left him at the edge of the Nile among the reeds (v. 3).

Pharaoh’s own daughter, in the providence of God, showed up at the exact right time, at the exact right place, found baby Moses, and rather than killing him, took him in (vv. 5- 6). Eventually she adopted the boy as her son and raised him, of all place, in Pharaoh’s palace (v. 10).

Miriam, Moses’ babysitter, kept special watch on her brother.

When Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses, she quickly intervened and offered to secure a wet nurse for the child-who just happened to be his very own mother (vv.
7-9).

I can’t help but stifle a chuckle when I read how hard Pharaoh was working to murder all of the Hebrew boys (cf. 1:16, 22).

He was concerned about Hebrew man power. Little Hebrew boys would eventually grow up into formable soldiers.

Pharaoh probably should been equally concerned about Hebrew women power–exhibited by the likes of Jochebed and Miriam.

These ladies had power because they exhibited incredible faith (cf. Hebrews 11:23Hebrews 11:23
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23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a goodly child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.

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; James 2:14-26James 2:14-26
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14 What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. 18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith. 19 Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. 24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith. 25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

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)!

As I think about it, raising a child in this old wicked world today is not unlike it was thousands of years ago in Egypt. Children are obviously at risk; their lives- spiritually and physically are, at times, in peril.

Godly Christian mother’s exhibit special care and try to raise and protect their offspring from the evil one (cf. 1 Timothy 3:121 Timothy 3:12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

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; Titus 2:4Titus 2:4
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4 that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

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).

They try to shield their children from all that that will harm their lives and souls.

They cover their children’s eyes when sin is openly advanced in on TV and the internet.

They cover their children’s ears when illicit behavior is applauded in popular music.

They cover their children’s bodies when immodesty is pushed upon them by their peers.

I was richly blessed by such a lady. Many of you were too.

Take a moment today to thank heaven for her. You’re probably here today because she had some power (Proverbs 31:29-31Proverbs 31:29-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 Many daughters have done worthily, But thou excellest them all. 30 Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; But a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her works praise her in the gates.

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by Mike Benson

Preachers meeting people at the door

There is a time-honored tradition of the preacher meeting people at the door as they exit the building after worship. Few Christians give any thought to how fragile and weighty that moment can be.

As soon as the last amen is uttered, the race begins.
Attendees who don’t want to talk nearly run out the door. The preacher is outnumbered and barely gets a chance to shake a few hands as the wave moves past him.

Various threads are possibly running through his head.

* He wishes he could make more of an impact on those fleeing attendees.

* He’s wishing he could have been more effective in his sermon.

* He’s wondering how many were in attendance.

* He’s hoping people were edified and affected by the sermon.

Those in attendance leave; children rushing, parents chasing, brethren chatting. As they file past the preacher they may share a greeting, handshake or hug and maybe a perfunctory “good sermon” or “enjoyed your lesson.”

A kind word is always appreciated but when it’s uttered out of habit or compulsion, it doesn’t carry the same weight. The preacher is looking at people’s faces wondering how they were impacted by the sermon.

If no one says anything about the lesson, the preacher is left wondering. Satan may seek an inroads to discouragement (1 Peter 5:81 Peter 5:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,

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). Preachers are susceptible like anyone else (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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Many preachers are passionate about God’s Word and they spend many hours preparing their sermons. He puts all he has into the lesson and would probably enjoy discussing the sermon to get some feedback.

Sound preachers are special people and deserve our respect (Romans 10:15Romans 10:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!

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). The least we can do is support them.

* Offer genuine comments about the sermon.

* Let him know what parts touched you.

* Engage and edify.

* Ask constructive questions.

* Inspire him to keep going.

* Show appreciation.

It’s easy to take the commonplace for granted. We must make a conscious effort to be better. A great place to start is helping preachers grow in confidence and resolve. While sometimes silence is golden, it is often deadly and dispiriting.

–Richard Mansel @ www.forthright.net

God and the Bible have been forgotten in contemporary worship

It is obvious that many Christians and religious people have forgotten the purpose of worship. They think men are the audience and separating people from their money is their ultimate goal.

Their version of worship is resplendent with the brightest lights, singers, equipment, technologies and talent available. These Hollywood-type productions will spare no expense to keep people and their checkbooks coming to their productions.

Simply stated, God and the Bible have been forgotten in contemporary worship. We can be assured that God has noticed and is none too pleased (Leviticus 10:1-2Leviticus 10:1-2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. 2 And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah.

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Instead of being nauseated by the behavior of church- businesses, we can become envious of their money and crowds. We begin to rationalize and ignore God’s will until we have found a way to get the traffic into our pews and pockets.

For those who have dollar signs in their eyes, let me ask a few questions:

* Where did God say that humanity is the intended audience for our worship?
* How much money has to be spent on worship before God is pleased?
* Where is the criterion for how exciting our worship must be?
* How good must we perform before God accepts our worship?

God has simple goals for our worship (John 4:24John 4:24
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24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

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). We must always remember that God is our audience (Matthew 4:9-10Matthew 4:9-10
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9 and he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

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), and we must connect with him spiritually and in truth as God has commanded in Scripture (1 Corinthians 4:61 Corinthians 4:6
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6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other.

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It is rebellious to offer God what he has not dictated in the New Testament (Colossians 3:17Colossians 3:17
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17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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; Hebrews 12:28Hebrews 12:28
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28 Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe:

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Every definition of worship requires submission, reverence, awe and respectful fear.

God will never tolerate us putting a god in front of him, especially money (Exodus 20:1-5Exodus 20:1-5
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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. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me,

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). Jesus was very clear on this matter when he overturned the tables of the moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-16Matthew 21:12-16
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12 And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; 13 and he saith unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer: but ye make it a den of robbers. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children that were crying in the temple and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were moved with indignation, 16 and said unto him, Hearest thou what these are saying? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea: did ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou has perfected praise?

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; Mark 11:15-19Mark 11:15-19
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15 And they come to Jerusalem: and he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and them that bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; 16 and he would not suffer that any man should carry a vessel through the temple. 17 And he taught, and said unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? but ye have made it a den of robbers. 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, for all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. 19 And every evening he went forth out of the city.

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“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a
house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den
of thieves'” (Matthew 21:13Matthew 21:13
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13 and he saith unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer: but ye make it a den of robbers.

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, NKJV).

Today, Jesus may not bring a whip into our buildings but these thieves will still meet the wrath of the Lord in the end unless they repent (Revelation 19:20-21; 20:11-15Revelation 19:20-21; 20:11-15
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20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone: 21 and the rest were killed with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of his mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. 15 And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

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; Luke 13:3-5Luke 13:3-5
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3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, think ye that they were offenders above all the men that dwell in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

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). Sadly, they will take a lot of deluded theater-goers with them.

–by Richard Mansel

Dining With the Devil (a good quote)

To hear some people speak, you would think that all it takes to make a church grow is to advertise, let people know about “product benefits,” and be nice to newcomers. Now the latest church growth study on the effective use of parking lots has its place, but this should never take the place of an examination of the church’s earliest church growth study, the Bible.

Os Guinness recalls a Japanese businessman visiting Australia who made this observation: “Whenever I meet a Buddhist leader, I meet a holy man. Whenever I meet a Christian leader, I meet a manager” (Dining With the Devil, page 49).

The poor man didn’t know the half of it. In Modern Christianity, ministers pose as coaches, entertainers, counselors and corporate CEO’s. Church growth gurus are obsessed with statistics and data, often at the expense of eternal truth. Churches exalt numbers, and fall down before methods in a manner that verge on idolatry.

I like the way the Apostles referred to their particular ministry. “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God…but we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2, 3Acts 6:2, 3
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2 And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

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ESV). In its desire to meet a market or build good self-images, the church is in danger of forgetting its major function, to know God’s word and to proclaim it.

Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles, told her boys: “Either this book (the Bible) will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” It is the church’s peculiar function to spend time in examination of God’s word, and in presenting it to the community.

If the church does not take the time and effort to study the word of God, then who will? If the church does not proclaim God’s word, then who will?

by Stan Mitchell

A “friendship pact”

Closer Than a Brother

B.H. McDaniel was a very successful orthodontist with a thriving practice. He also loved to fly his plane for a hobby. One day, he was flying from El Paso, TX to Lufkin, TX, when the engine stalled, and he couldn’t start it again. He was over the Davy Crockett National Forest, so an emergency landing was going to be almost impossible. But God was with him every step of the way. He looked down and saw an opening among the trees. He tried to set the plane down in the little spot, but it was too short for landing. His plane hit hard, skidded into the trees on the other side of the field and broke into flames. B.H. broke his back in the crash and lay helpless as the fire began to burn.

By the providence of the Lord, a farmer saw the plane go down and hurried to the wreckage. He pulled the Doctor to safety just in time, as the aircraft was engulfed in flames.

B.H. was taken to a local hospital. That started the long journey of healing, then therapy. It was going to take over two years to get even limited use of his legs back. Naturally that was to wreak havoc on his orthodontic practice.

Enter Dr. Stephen Kerr. Stephen had attended dental college in the early days with B.H. and they had become fast friends. One school day without really thinking about it, the two men made a “friendship pact” (much like David and Jonathan in the Bible) that they would take care of the other’s family in case something happened. Then they went on without ever really thinking about it.

Now something had happened! There was B.H. lying paralyzed in a hospital bed. He opened his eyes to see Stephen standing in the room. It was good of him to come to B.H. and give support in his darkest hour. But he did more than that. Stephen was there to stay. He was an orthodontist also. He immediately went home to Houston and shut down his own practice. He sold his home; then, he and the entire Kerr family moved to El Paso to run the clinic for B.H. He purchased a portion of B.H.’s practice (to give him cash) and then shared the profits with him to give B.H. an income.

That kindness lasted 12 years! That’s right! He did the work and shared the income with B.H. until the injured man could get around — first on crutches, then canes, and when he could sit to do his work. Only then did Stephen sell his interest in the business back to B.H. and go home.

“How do you thank a friend like that?” Asked B.H. “You couldn’t if you tried 100 years” *

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24Proverbs 18:24
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24 He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

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Because of our sin, you and I were facing the “plane wreck” of eternal destruction (cf. Matthew 7:13-14Matthew 7:13-14
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13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. 14 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.

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), but Jesus came to us (see John 1:14John 1:14
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14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us , full of grace and truth.

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). But He did more than that. He died on the cross to pay the price for our sins (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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) so that we might live eternally with Him in heaven.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13John 15:13
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13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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. Jesus demonstrated this kind of love for us. He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.

How do you thank a friend like that? You can’t, even if you tried 1,000 years! But you CAN be grateful, and you CAN accept His offer of salvation by placing your faith and trust in Him (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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), turning 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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), confessing Jesus 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 being 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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Won’t YOU?

David A. Sargent

Fifty Shades of Grey

It was very disappointing. I wish the information I discovered was false, but it wasn’t. Some might not care at all about this person; others may have a vested interest. The problem is that I, along with many others, have been a fan of this person for several years now. In fact, he was one of the most influential reasons why I rooted for Seattle over New England in this year’s super bowl. I suppose it actually isn’t all that surprising considering this person’s profession, but he is known to be a religious person and often seems to hold high moral standards. In fact, he posts a Scripture every day on his twitter account. The person I’m referring to is Russell Wilson.

Recently, Russell Wilson went to see Fifty Shades of Grey, a movie that has been very well documented for its blatant immoral content. He tweeted out, “Thanks for the early showing of #50ShadesOfGrey late last night…great movie” (Bleacher Report). Several fans responded with shock and disapproval. One person said, “I’m more than a little confused, Russell. I thought you professed to be a Christian….” This response was echoed several times over by others. What was most disappointing was Wilson’s response to these people, “Saw a movie filmed in the town I call home. Provocative/disturbing no doubt but that does not make me less Faithful. Have a blessed day!” (ibid). How disappointing.

There is huge disconnect in our world and Wilson’s statement further pinpoints the problem. Supporting and exposing ourselves to sin most definitely makes us less faithful! It’s puzzling how anyone can claim to be faithful and support clearly identified filth. Our world doesn’t really know what it means to be faithful. Let’s go to Scripture to help understand what being faithful really means.

Being faithful means fleeing from sin (2 Timothy 2:222 Timothy 2:22
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22 But flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

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Being faithful means denying fleshly desires (Matthew 16:24Matthew 16:24
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24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

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Being faithful means living in purity (1 Thess. 4:3-51 Thess. 4:3-5
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3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication; 4 that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who know not God;

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Being faithful means hating what is wicked and evil (Proverbs 8:13Proverbs 8:13
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13 The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the perverse mouth, do I hate.

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Being faithful means putting God first (Matthew 6:33Matthew 6:33
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33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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Being faithful means loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27Luke 10:27
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27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.

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Being faithful means being true to God for life (Revelation 2:10Revelation 2:10
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10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

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Being faithful means becoming a true Christian in the first place (Acts 2:38Acts 2:38
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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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; Galatians 3:26-27; 1Galatians 3:26-27; 1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians 1 1 Paul, an apostle , 2 and all the brethren that are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father: 5 to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; 7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. 9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and made havoc of it: 14 and I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me: but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. 20 Now touching the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 21 Then I came unto the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23 but they only heard say, He that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc; 24 and they glorified God in me.

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Peter 3:21).

Certainly we could fill pages and pages with similar Scriptures, but all of these communicate what it really means to be faithful. If there is even the tiniest sliver of faithfulness displayed in Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s extremely well hidden by barefaced sin. It makes no sense how anyone can claim to be faithful and at the same time support such cinematic filth. Let’s not forget that faithfulness is not a permanent state, it can be lost (Galatians 5:4; 2Galatians 5:4; 2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace. 2 1 Then after the space of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. 2 And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 and that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 to whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But from those who were reputed to be somewhat —they, I say, who were of repute imparted nothing to me: 7 but contrariwise, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision 8 ; 9 and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision; 10 only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do. 11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 15 We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a minister of sin? God forbid. 18 For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. 21 I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought.

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Peter 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:1-131 Corinthians 10:1-13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 1 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and did all eat the same spiritual food; 4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ. 5 Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us make trial of the Lord, as some of them made trial, and perished by the serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

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What we do, say, and support says a great deal about our true faithfulness to God. All of our actions will be brought to judgment (Matthew 12:36Matthew 12:36
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

36 And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

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; Ecclesiastes 12:14Ecclesiastes 12:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

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). Let’s strive for true faithfulness, one that is comprised of unwavering love and dedication to the Lord!

–Brett Petrillo

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

All people in the world are watching our words and deeds. Jesus teaches, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16Matt. 5:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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). Jesus is calling for a “walking confession,” a life which is an open book.

The Christian’s life is a manual, revealing what a Christian talks and acts like (Matt. 5:16Matt. 5:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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). It is a cookbook, showing the necessary ingredients which combine for a rich, full life (2 Pet. 1:5-112 Pet. 1:5-11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; 6 and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; 7 and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: 11 for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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). It is a code book, the reading of which will safely point others to the place of God’s acceptance (1 Tim. 4:121 Tim. 4:12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity.

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; Rom. 12:1-2Rom. 12:1-2
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12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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). It is a thriller in that it is bound by all the spiritual blessings that are to be had (Eph. 1:3Eph. 1:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

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). It is a medical book in that it reveals the evidences of the Great Physician (Mark 2:17Mark 2:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 And when Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

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; Jer. 8:22Jer. 8:22
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

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). It is a suspense because the best is yet to be for the Christian as “it does not yet appear what we shall be…” (1 John 3:21 John 3:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.

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). The Christian is read very carefully by “all men” (2 Cor. 3:22 Cor. 3:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men;

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). As our lives are read, what notes do the readers place in the margin? If they were to label the book of our lives, what would they say? “Couldn’t put it down!” (Titus 2:8Titus 2:8
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8 sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us.

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)? “This book contains error” (1 John 4:61 John 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

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)? “Easy to follow” (1 Tim. 2:21 Tim. 2:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.

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)? “Discard” (Rev. 3:14-19Rev. 3:14-19
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14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

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)? “Pages missing” (2 Pet. 1:92 Pet. 1:9
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9 For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.

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Peter found it very easy to confess the Lord before the other disciples. He vowed, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death” (Luke 22:33Luke 22:33
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33 And he said unto him, Lord, with thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death.

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). Before the next morning’s light hit his face, Peter had denied his Lord three times before men (Luke 22:54Luke 22:54
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

54 And they seized him, and led him away, and brought him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed afar off.

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ff). The camaraderie of other believers put Peter to no test, but out there in the world Peter failed the test. Perhaps arrogance contributed to his denial. Obviously, fear was involved. The prospect of ostracism and rejection led to his cowardice.

If an apostle would stumble at confessing Christ before men, what about you and I? Separated from the pull and pressures of the world when in the assemblies, we have no difficulty preaching (or hearing), singing, and praying our devout faith in Jesus. But, when the support group disbands to address life’s daily affairs and the group becomes individuals scattered into different jobs, neighborhoods, schools, and homes, do our lives confess Him? Do we tell others by our actions that Christ is our Lord? Do we show them that He is first (Matt. 6:33Matt. 6:33
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33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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)? Out there (in the world) is where Jesus’ conditional statement in Matthew 10:32-33Matthew 10:32-33
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32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

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applies. If we “stick up” for Christ in the daily tests, then He will reward our triumph over temptation. Out there is where Christ needs others to see our confession and read our lives.

–Neal Pollard

Man’s thoughts are futile

Don’t we preach mind over heart, the thought process superior to the emotions? And we’re right to do so.
Except that the mind needs regeneration as much as any other part of us.

Man’s thoughts are futile. “The Lord does indeed know human thoughts, knows that they are nothing but a puff of air” (Psalm 94:11Psalm 94:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 Jehovah knoweth the thoughts of man, That they are vanity.

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CEB; Ephesians 4:17Ephesians 4:17
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17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind,

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Man’s thoughts often miss the mind of God, like Naaman’s, when he said, “I thought” (2 Kings 5:112 Kings 5:11
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11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Jehovah his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

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Man’s thoughts are selfish, like Hezekiah’s, when he was relieved that God’s punishment would not fall upon him, but upon his children (2 Kings 20:192 Kings 20:19
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19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of Jehovah which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, Is it not so, if peace and truth shall be in my days?

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Man’s thoughts are abhorrent to God. “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure” (Psalm 15:26Psalm 15:26
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV



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ESV).

Man’s thoughts must be abandoned, because God’s thoughts are so far above and beyond them (Isaiah 55:7-9Isaiah 55:7-9
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7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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Man’s thoughts focus on the present and on what is material, because they give “no thought of [the] future” (Lamentations 1:9Lamentations 1:9
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9 Her filthiness was in her skirts; she remembered not her latter end; Therefore is she come down wonderfully; she hath no comforter: Behold, O Jehovah, my affliction; for the enemy hath magnified himself.

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ESV).

Man’s thoughts are evil, from which spring all sorts of sin and perversity (Matthew 15:19Matthew 15:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings:

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Man’s thoughts conclude that money can buy everything, even leading him to try to buy God’s gifts with money (Acts 8:20Acts 8:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 But Peter said unto him, Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money.

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Man’s thoughts are conflicting, always a bad sign (Romans 2:15Romans 2:15
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15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them);

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Man’s thoughts belong to the realm of the prince of the powers of the air, “carrying out the inclinations of [his] flesh and thoughts” (Ephesians 2.1-3 HCSB).

So man’s thoughts must be changed by the work of God.
We must “let God change the way [we] think” (Romans
12:2 CEV).

Man’s thoughts must be taken “captive to make [them] obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:52 Corinthians 10:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;

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Then, and only then, will we have “Christ’s way of thinking” (1 Corinthians 2:161 Corinthians 2:16
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16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

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by J. Randal Matheny @ www.forthright.net

What’s the cure to peer pressure?

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 The fear of man bringeth a snare; But whoso putteth his trust in Jehovah shall be safe.

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, ESV).

Ben walked in on the basketball team by surprise, and found them smoking marijuana. With startling swiftness they surrounded him making their demand. He stretched out his hand and took the smoldering joint.

Ranged round him like a wolf pack were his teammates, every eye locked on to him. The pressure was more intense than a Vick’s Vapor rub, clogging his chest. He couldn’t refuse the marijuana because he had seen all the others inhaling the drug.

They wanted him – needed him — to be similarly compromised. The only way to ensure that he did not tell Coach was to have him inhale the pungent smoke.

There was a light in their eyes, shining with the fierceness of the predator. “Come on, take it Ben! Be one of the guys,” one said, but it sounded more like a threat than an invitation.

Peer pressure is not the sole preserve of the teenager, of course. Consider the preacher who compromises God’s message for the sake of popularity, or the businessman who deceives his clients because his competitors are “way ahead” of him.

So what’s the cure to peer pressure? Solomon tells us it’s the willingness to “trust in the Lord.” You will fear men a little less if you fear God a little more!

–by Stan Mitchell

Boro Sap!

“If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a
perfect man, able also to bridle the whole
body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths
that they may obey us, and we turn their
whole body. . . . Even so the tongue is a
little member and boasts great things”
(James 3:2-5James 3:2-5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 For in many things we all stumble. If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. 3 Now if we put the horses' bridles into their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also. 4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, are yet turned about by a very small rudder, whither the impulse of the steersman willeth. 5 So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire!

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NKJV).

The intercom at Khulna Bible College rang in my apartment and I picked up to hear the cook, Shova, say only “boro sap” (big snake).

She has almost no English, and I have only a little Bangla, but we can communicate that message at least.
All the personnel know that I enjoy seeing the animals, birds and plants that come onto the campus, and they try to inform me when something new is seen.

It is normal for us to have snakes on campus occasionally. Most are harmless and even helpful in that they eat rodents and other pests. Sometimes though dangerous snakes can also appear.

Not long ago we had a small cobra, only about 2 feet long, but still very deadly to anyone who was careless or caught unawares.

This cobra caused much more concern than the two Checkered Keelbacks (non-poisonous) we found at about the same time which were more than double its size.

When it comes to snakes, size means little. Their inherent nature is everything. A tiny snake full of venom is far more dangerous than a huge non-poisonous one.

James reminds us that sin is like that. One does not have to be a mass murderer or serial child molester to be guilty and condemned in the eyes of God.

“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:41 John 3:4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

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All sin is rebellion and all rebellion separates from God and results in death(Romans 3:23; 6:23Romans 3:23; 6:23
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23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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The tongue is an excellent example. Though it is small, it has influence and power far beyond its size. Like the tiny spark that kindles a great fire (James 3:5James 3:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire!

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), the tongue may incite rebellions, destroy reputations, or cause the loss of innumerable souls.

Many historians credit Adolf Hitler’s rise to power partly to his abilities as an orator. He won the people of Germany to himself and to his evil policies through his popular speeches.

No one can number the lives ruined by malicious lies and rumors. And only God will know the number of souls that will ultimately be lost because they believed and followed “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:11 Timothy 4:1
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4 1 But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,

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Even many Christians today however minimize the importance of their speech. “It was only a little white lie,” they say. Gossip, slander, rumors, and half- truths are spread energetically to all that will listen.

Modern communications make the matter even worse. What the grapevine took days to spread now may Twitter around the world in seconds. Our tongues have more power for both good and evil than ever. How are we using them?

Paul’s command is very timely:

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your
mouth, but what is good for necessary
edification, that it may impart grace to the
hearers” (Ephesians 4:29Ephesians 4:29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.

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It is just as easy to say a profitable word as it is one that is harmful. And it is far better.

James agrees, and notes that the Christian’s tongue must not be divided, speaking both good and evil.

“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and
cursing. My brethren, such things ought not
to be so” (James 3:10James 3:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

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Little snakes can kill. Little words can destroy. Let us control our tongues and strive to be perfect.

by Michael E. Brooks

$10 billion on beauty aids every year

Growing Older
(originally written in 2009, and adapted here)

A news item a few years ago pointed out that Americans spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion on beauty aids every year. A large portion of these beauty aids are designed to specifically target signs of aging.

Unfortunately, our modern society glorifies youth and age is something you try to hide. A separate item pointed out that female Hollywood actors can pretty well expect to be out of a job at about age 40. Hollywood is not the only industry that ignores the talents and skills of the elderly.

I once read that when Ty Cobb was 70, a reporter asked him, “What do you think you’d hit if you were playing these days?” Cobb, who was a life-time .367 hitter, said, “About .290, maybe .300.” The reporter said, “That’s because of the travel, the night games, the artificial turf, and all the new pitches like the slider, right?” “No,” said Cobb, “it’s because I’m 70.” There is a certain fearful expectation of growing old. It frightens us. Perhaps that is why David prayed, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails” (Psa. 71:9Psa. 71:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; Forsake me not when my strength faileth.

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). Jonathan Swift put it like this: “Every man desires to live long, but no man wants to be old.” With old age comes a number of infirmities. Heath fails, the mind becomes forgetful, and our life in general slows down, either voluntarily or of necessity. How should the Christian view the aging process? And what should be our attitude toward those who have attained unto three-score years of age and beyond? When God gave Israel her law, one of the things the Almighty stressed was respect for the aged: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man” (Lev. 19:32Lev. 19:32
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and thou shalt fear thy God: I am Jehovah.

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). “The hoary head is a crown of glory; It shall be found in the way of righteousness.” (Pro. 16:32Pro. 16:32
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; And he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.

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). “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.” (Pro. 20:29Pro. 20:29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 The glory of young men is their strength; And the beauty of old men is the hoary head.

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, KJV). Seeing that I originally wrote this article while doing mission work in Kathmandu, Nepal, I found the following item somewhat interesting:

When ABC’s 20/20 cohost, Hugh Downs visited Nepal, he discovered it is “polite” to ask a person’s age and to call someone old is a compliment in Nepal. Someone in their mid fifties typically seems embarrassed about their immature age, but they are usually comforted if the inquirer encouragingly says, “Don’t feel bad, you’re getting there.” In Nepal they take heed to Proverbs 16:31Proverbs 16:31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

31 The hoary head is a crown of glory; It shall be found in the way of righteousness.

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, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor.”

In January 2014 I made my first trip to the Philippines to preach God’s word. Like their neighbor across the Indian Ocean, the Philippines have great respect for those who have reached the point in their life where there are more years behind them than before them. There are certain social benefits that go with getting older. But most of all, there seems to be a deep respect on the part those who are younger for the older people in their society.

As we grow older there is the great danger that we consider ourselves no longer useful to the church or society. Let us never forget that Noah was six hundred years old before God called him to be the preserver of the human race. Moses was eighty before he returned to Egypt to lead Israel out of bondage. History has shown us that many an artist, poet, or composer was just reaching their apex in life in their sixties, seventies, and even their eighties or nineties. There are too many godly men and women who, upon retirement from their lifelong careers, retire from the Lord’s work as well. God did not tell us to remain faithful until we retire, but “unto death” (Rev. 2:10Rev. 2:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

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).

We need you now more than ever. Your energy may not be what it used to be, and your thinking process may be a little slower. But, as one aptly stated, “It is true that youth is faster, but it is also true that age is more accurate.” Please, do not become idle. Do not give in to the “rocking chair syndrome.” My generation needs your wisdom to help us through many of the same struggles you faced when you were our age. Meanwhile, “Thank You” for showing us the way. Only eternity will reveal the good that so many of you have done in the sunset years of your life. For those who keep on keeping on in spite of your aches and pains; for those who have set an example for us in faithful attendance and godly living; for those who continue to tell others the sweet, sweet story of Jesus even if those to whom you speak think your words are the ranting of an old man or old woman. To you we express our thanksgiving. May your number increase!

In connection with this week’s article, brother Hugh Fulford sent me this essay, author unknown:

AND THEN IT IS WINTER

I wonder where all the years went! I know that I lived them all. You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams. But here it is, the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise.

How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember through the years seeing older people and thinking that they were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But here it is! My friends are retired and getting gray. They move slower and I see in them an older person. Some are in better shape and some are in worse shape than am I, but I see the great change-they no longer are like the ones I remember who were young and vibrant-but like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we would be. Each day now I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore-it is mandatory!-because if I don’t on my own freewill I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did. But, at least I know that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last, that when it’s over on this earth it’s over. A new adventure will begin!

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done and things I should have done. But there are many things I am happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

If you are not yet in your winter let me remind you that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long! Life goes by so quickly. Do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not. You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of life. Live for today and say all the things that you want your friends and loved ones to remember. And hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past (and that they will forgive you for the things you should have done but didn’t).

Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

Proverbs 24:27

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field; and after that build your house”
(Proverbs 24:27Proverbs 24:27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 Prepare thy work without, And make it ready for thee in the field; And afterwards build thy house.

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, ESV).

Every chance I got I would go into that store and gaze at the display case. There they were, four Matchbox cars, replicas of vintage cars, a perfect set. Every time I entered the dark interior of the store, and waited for my eyes to adjust to the indoor light, I was fearful. Had somebody already bought the set?

In the meantime, I was saving my allowance money as fast as I could, astonishing parents and neighbors with offers to do jobs for a little extra. It took months to save up enough money. The wait was excruciating.

Today we live in a world of instant gratification. Lay a credit card down! Don’t wait until you can afford the item you dream of, get it instantly, pay for it eternally!

When do you pay it back? Anybody with a credit card debt knows that monthly payments are like lightly salting the ocean — it takes forever, and cripples the family finances in the meantime.

The wise man understood this. Ensure the source of your income first, before paying for a luxurious house. Live within your means. Save up to buy the objects of your desire.

By the way, I bought those Matchbox cars eventually.
They were worth the wait!

–by Stan Mitchell

Proverbs 24:27Proverbs 24:27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 Prepare thy work without, And make it ready for thee in the field; And afterwards build thy house.

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