Archives for : September2015

Much trouble may be avoided if one is able to read signs correctly.

Reading Sign

“Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him asked that he would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red;” and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times'” (Matthew 16:1-3Matthew 16:1-3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But he answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the heaven is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the heaven is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV).

A group of campaigners traveled to a national park in Nigeria for a break after several days of work, hoping to see some African animals. As we went through the park towards headquarters to register and get our rooms for the night, we stopped to see an area of old hand-dug dry wells.

The group scattered out looking into different wells. As we did so we heard an animal in the bush around us, but were not particularly concerned.

One man stopped at a well that had a pole sticking out of it, and without thinking much about it, he shook the pole. Suddenly, a female baboon, which had been in the bottom of the well, rushed up the pole, out of the well, almost in the man’s face.

As she fled, a large male baboon (apparently her mate) rushed to meet and protect her. Belatedly, we realized that the situation could have been dangerous, but, thankfully, the animals left without incident.

More experienced visitors to the park would undoubtedly have recognized the sounds we heard as the warning calls of the baboon. None of us were able to identify them; therefore we did not properly interpret the signs of potential confrontation and danger.

Much trouble may be avoided if one is able to read signs correctly. This applies not only to danger from jungle animals, but to weather, political difficulties, crime, violence, and also to spiritual danger.

Jesus rebuked the religious leadership of his day for being more able to read the signs of weather, than those of the purpose and plans of God.

His criticism is particularly appropriate because Jesus’ coming was predicted in vivid detail by the prophets of the Old Testament period.

The Pharisees and Sadducees prided themselves on their knowledge of and obedience to the Scriptures, including the prophets. If anyone were able to recognize and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, sent by God, it should have been them. Yet they were the most adamant in denying his true identity.

Many Christians today are far more knowledgeable about physical matters pertaining to this world than their Bibles and the will of God. They discuss political personalities and events to minutest detail.

They know the ups and downs of the stock market. They can talk for hours about their favorite sports teams. But they may be completely blind to spiritual problems in their lives and relationships, and have little concept of what God desires for them.

Psalm 1 praises the righteous man, described as blessed by God, stable and enduring as a tree planted by a stream of water (verse 3). His dominate characteristic is that “[h]is delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night” (verse 2).

Such a man has his priorities right. He is able to read the signs that really matter, those which will determine his ultimate destiny and success.

Frequently in his ministry Jesus taught that one must “watch” (Matthew 25:13Matthew 25:13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour.

WP-Bible plugin
), “watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41Matthew 26:41
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

WP-Bible plugin
), and “be ready” (Matthew 24:44Matthew 24:44
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

44 Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh.

WP-Bible plugin
), because of temptations and also because of future events within God’s purposes.

That watchfulness and preparation included knowledge of God’s revealed word.

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet . . . then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16Matthew 24:15-16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place , 16 then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:

WP-Bible plugin
).

Not all of the signs revealed in the Bible refer to apocalyptic or eschatological events. Many pertain to our spiritual condition, and the needs and problems we face in this life.

Like the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day, too many modern believers take their knowledge of God for granted and do not polish their skills at reading signs — especially those signs that truly matter.

Tragically, events which they could be prepared for will ultimately surprise and destroy them. Let us watch and pray, being always ready for God’s will to be done.

Michael E. Brooks @ www.forthright.net

THE CIRCADIAN RHYTHM

Dave Allen has been all around the world with his military career.  He has taken assignments, particular in time of war, that carried him into and out of several time zones, often in a 24 to 48 hour period.  He once had a six month period where he never slept in the same time zone two nights in a row.  He was constantly on a C-130, going from place to place.  That is so far beyond “jet lag” that it is hard to comprehend for one who has never attempted it.

He said that after a month or so of that schedule and being exhausted from lack of sleep due to the time changes, his body began to adapt to this short-circuiting by sleeping whenever it was time to sleep where they were that night.  Basically, circumstances caused his “body clock” to be rewired!  It was in this context that Dave spoke of the “circadian rhythm.” The American Heritage Science Dictionary defines it as “A daily cycle of biological activity based on a 24-hour period and influenced by regular variations in the environment, such as the alternation of night and day. Circadian rhythms include sleeping and waking in animals, flower closing and opening in angiosperms, and tissue growth and differentiation in fungi.”  Normally, in one time zone, darkness is the cue for sleep and daylight is the cue for being awake.  But that can become skewed. Apparently, as Dave proved, the body can adapt even in the most extreme circumstances and give one the “body clock” needed for whatever circumstance.

What is your spiritual “circadian rhythm”?  God has equipped us with His Word, with a conscience, and external examples and influences that should supply us with a healthy view of right and wrong.  So long as we do not violate the conscience by ignoring and disobeying God’s Word or choosing improper influences, we keep the right perspective.  However, the conscience can become seared (1 Tim. 4:21 Tim. 4:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;

WP-Bible plugin
)  We can get past feeling (Eph. 4:19Eph. 4:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

WP-Bible plugin
).  We can turn our ears from the truth and be turned to fables (2 Tim. 4:32 Tim. 4:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts;

WP-Bible plugin
).  We can even believe what is false (2 Th. 2:112 Th. 2:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie:

WP-Bible plugin
).  When this happens, we adapt our sense of right and wrong to what we come to believe or practice.  Isaiah’s peers did that, famously calling good “evil” and “evil” good.

A society’s value system can get turned upside down, and so can an individual’s.  This adaptation goes against God’s intended order, but the consequences of such an adaptation could not be more negative.  Let us be careful not to allow ourselves down a road where we “exchange the truth of God for a lie” (Rom. 1:25Rom. 1:25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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.

WP-Bible plugin
).  In the spiritual realm, this is not a matter of indifference.

–Neal Pollard

Someone who has tasted death has a way of grabbing our attention

A FIREMAN I KNOW once got trapped in a burning house…

He had gotten disoriented in a hallway when fire broke out at both ends of the hall. He believed that he was going to die that day. With smoke and flame all around him, he simply did not know which way to go. All he knew was that he did not have much time. At what seemed to be the last second, the smoke cleared a bit, and he saw sunlight coming into a window at one end of the hall. He ran to it, broke it out with an ax, and climbed to safety. His fellow firemen treated him as if he had returned from the dead.

Someone who has tasted death has a way of grabbing our attention. No wonder, then, that King Nebuchadnezzar was so amazed when the three young Hebrew men emerged alive from the furnace. Everyone in the palace knew what had happened. This was not some fluke in which the men managed to find a way out of danger on their own. Only God could have brought them out. The Scripture says it was as if they had never gone into the fire at all: “there was no smell of fire on them” (v. 27).

The king was moved to praise the one true God who had saved the men from the furnace. He even decreed that no one could even so much as speak against their God. Don M. Aycock & Mark Sutton, “Dead Men Walking,” Still God’s Man, 220-221

God still saves (cf., 1 Peter 3:20-221 Peter 3:20-22
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: 21 which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; 22 who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

WP-Bible plugin
) from the fire (Jude 1:2-3Jude 1:2-3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied. 3 Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.

WP-Bible plugin
). He still resurrects (cf., Romans 6:5Romans 6:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection;

WP-Bible plugin
) from the dead. Do you know Him (1 John 2:3-4; 3:1; 5:201 John 2:3-4; 3:1; 5:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 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. 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

WP-Bible plugin
; Philippians 3:10Philippians 3:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death;

WP-Bible plugin
)?

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:26-30Daniel 3:26-30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace: he spake and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came forth out of the midst of the fire. 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. 28 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god that is able to deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the province of Babylon.

WP-Bible plugin

Mike Benson

What are we missing in our family communication skills?

LIVING THE FAITH

Carla’s face reddens with anger and her eyes flash as her mother, Jennifer, tells her she cannot go to the movie until her room is clean. Carla screams, “You hate me!” She turns and storms into her room.

Carla’s words pierce like swords and warm tears sting Jennifer’s face. How could her own flesh and blood hate her, after all she has done for her?

Innumerable parents have heard these kinds of painful words from their family members. What are we missing in our family communication skills?

We look for anything that we can to help us develop better relationships. The deeper we go into the study of relationships, the more complex and nuanced the lessons.

Each of us has memories that store everything that happens in our relationships. We log the yellow colors of peace and love, as well as the reds of anger. Collectively, they constitute the dialogue of our familial bonds.

Each moment, whether good or bad, greets us when we face a new situation and conversation. We do not start over every day with a blank slate.

Jennifer does not like something her husband, Tom, says. She blurts out, “I thought you loved me!” Jennifer has just picked up Carla’s sword.

Jennifer needs to return to her log and remember all of Tom’s expressions of love. She needs to read the notations of flowers, gifts, hugs, kisses he has given her. With these in mind, should she not give him the benefit of the doubt?

We are not talking about occasions when adultery or abuse enters the relationship. We are talking about daily moments when we forget how our family members feel about us, separate from their momentary anger.

We should not have to start over every day. We have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Jennifer goes to Tom. He is hesitant thinking the storm still rages. “Honey, I’m sorry. I know you love me. I must have misunderstood. You deserve the benefit of the doubt. What did you really mean?”

Tom relaxes and they converse as lovers, rather than adversaries. Later, Carla moves slowly to her mother and says, “Mom, I know how you feel about me. I was just mad. I’m sorry.” Jennifer smiles and tearfully hugs her precious daughter.

“Carla, I realized today that we need to remember that we love each other and to give each other credit for that. We are always family”

“That makes sense, Momma. We don’t need to act like little children. Life is too short.”

Are we mature enough to give our loved ones the benefit of the doubt?

Richard Mansel

Psalm 1

IF I OFFERED you a method to make a million dollars, and it was a sure thing, would you listen…?

What if I offered you the ability to live your life in a wise, godly manner? Would you listen? Sorry, but I do not have the million dollar deal figured out, but I do know where to find the process for living.

That process is found in Psalm 1. It contrasts the difference between the man who wants to live in a godly manner and the one who does not. The contrast is between day and night. One many follows the way of God and is blessed. What is his process? First, he makes his own decisions about what he is going to do. He avoids evil company and refuses to associate with people who are cynical about everything. We often have to work with such people, of course, but we do not need to spend our “off” time with them.

The godly man looks to the true source of wisdom and strength — God Himself. He drinks in godliness as a tree drinks in the water running along its roots. Because of that action and attitude, the man yields fruit. He prospers.

On the other hand, the man who lives as if God were irrelevant is like chaff. He is blown away and has no lasting impact on life. Evil is its own worst enemy and is self-destructive. As the psalmist puts it, “The way of the wicked will perish” (v. 6). Oh, that might not happen right away. In fact, some of the world’s biggest scoundrels seem to have it all. But appearances are deceptive. What they build will not last.

God keeps the way of His people: “For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous” (v. 6). These two ways of living could not be more diverse. One way is day; the other way is night.

Where do you live? Don M. Aycock & Mark Sutton, “The Difference Between Day and Night,” Still God’s Man, 147-148

1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Psalm 1

Mike Benson

Priorities are a tricky thing

Frank Haven was born August 1, 1924st 1, 1924
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV



WP-Bible plugin
. This is an interesting fact, one canoeing enthusiasts are more apt to know than others. Yet, it is interesting to to note circumstances surrounding his birth. His father, Bill Havens, was a member of the Yale rowing crew selected to compete in the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France. But, Bill’s wife was pregnant and out of loyalty and concern for her he decided not to travel over and compete. It turns out that Frank was born after the closing ceremonies.

Somewhere along the line, Frank decided to become a competitive canoeist. In 1952, Frank won the Gold Medal in canoeing at the Helsinki, Finland, Olympics. He also won the national canoeing championship seven out of 12 years between 1950 and 1961, and he also won Silver at the 1948 Olympics (info taken from Hickoksports.com).

Bill was committed to his wife. He had a proper understanding of priorities and in what order they should be placed. Priorities are a tricky thing. We tend to place them in the order we convince ourselves they belong. Often, we simply give in to our tendencies, desires, and preferences, then rationalize that we have chosen what is truly most important. While we might make the right choice if put into a “big” situation like Frank Haven faced, but what about “little” situations that pop up every day? Maybe we convince ourselves our kids really need our encouragement and support as they play a sport, so we choose to take them there on a Sunday morning. Maybe we let an opportunity to evangelize go by the boards because we are concerned we will sacrifice good rapport with someone. Maybe we are tired after a long day at work, so we choose to watch TV rather than call, write, or visit that struggling Christian who crosses our minds.

Sometimes, it is hard to know if our choice is a winning or losing choice. It may take some time (or even eternity) before we know for sure. Jesus teaches that sometimes we must lose to win (Matt. 16:25Matt. 16:25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.

WP-Bible plugin
). It is a matter of determining what we are choosing to lose and what we stand to win!

Neal Pollard

Do you need restoration?

HAVE YOU EVER rummaged through your attic or your basement and found something you had forgotten that was important to you…?

You look at that picture or hold that object, and your mind floods with memories that put a smile on your lips or a lump in your throat. You wonder how you could have forgotten about it because it was so important.

King Josiah started a program of restoring the temple in Jerusalem, which had been neglected. In the process of the restoration, workmen found a book that had also been neglected. It was the “Book of the Law.” Scholars believe that it was the book of Deuteronomy, or at least key portions of it. When Josiah heard its content, he was personally grieved, and then he led his people in a process of national reformation.

The Word of God has that kind of power. How could anyone stand up to its strength and act unmoved? Many people today ignore the Bible and act as if it were nothing but a dusty collection of ancient tales. But it has the power to restore men and nations to their proper relationship with God.

Do you need restoration? Like Josiah, do you need to be shaken out of your ruts? Don M. Aycock & Mark Sutton, “Restored,” Still God’s Man, 106

“Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.” 2 Kings 22:82 Kings 22:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan, and he read it.

WP-Bible plugin

Mike Benson

A Bible study on Joy (Jn. 15:11)

An understanding of “joy” begins with the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament we see how a variety of human experiences resulted in “joy.”

1. __________________ (Song of Solomon 1:4)
2. __________________ (Prov. 5:18Prov. 5:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Let thy fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of thy youth.

WP-Bible plugin
)
3. __________________ (Ps. 113:9Ps. 113:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, And to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye Jehovah.

WP-Bible plugin
) _______________ & _______________ (Isa. 9:3Isa. 9:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

WP-Bible plugin
)
4. __________________ (Lk. 15:4-7Lk. 15:4-7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and his neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.

WP-Bible plugin
)
5. __________________ (Lk. 15:11-32Lk. 15:11-32
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of thy substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country; and there he wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 But when he came to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: 19 I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 and bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry: 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called to him one of the servants, and inquired what these things might be. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 But he was angry, and would not go in: and his father came out, and entreated him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, and I never transgressed a commandment of thine; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 but when this thy son came, who hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou killedst for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that is mine is thine. 32 But it was meet to make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

WP-Bible plugin
)
6. __________________ (Mt. 13:44Mt. 13:44
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

WP-Bible plugin
)
7. __________________ (Phil. 2:28Phil. 2:28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.

WP-Bible plugin
)
8. __________________ (Heb. 13:17Heb. 13:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this were unprofitable for you.

WP-Bible plugin
)
9. __________________ (Ps. 32:11Ps. 32:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 Be glad in Jehovah, and rejoice, ye righteous; And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

WP-Bible plugin
)
10. __________________ (Ps. 40:16Ps. 40:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: Let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified.

WP-Bible plugin
)
11. __________________ (Ps. 63:11Ps. 63:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 But the king shall rejoice in God: Every one that sweareth by him shall glory; For the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

WP-Bible plugin
)
12. __________________ (Ps. 119:14Ps. 119:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, As much as in all riches.

WP-Bible plugin
)
13. __________________ (Neh. 8:10Neh. 8:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye grieved; for the joy of Jehovah is your strength.

WP-Bible plugin
)
14. __________________ (Ex. 18:9-11Ex. 18:9-11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which Jehovah had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 And Jethro said, Blessed be Jehovah, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that Jehovah is greater than all gods; yea, in the thing wherein they dealt proudly against them.

WP-Bible plugin
).
15. __________________ (Deut. 16:13-15Deut. 16:13-15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 Thou shalt keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in from thy threshing-floor and from thy winepress: 14 and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a feast unto Jehovah thy God in the place which Jehovah shall choose; because Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the work of thy hands, and thou shalt be altogether joyful.

WP-Bible plugin
; Ps. 122:1Ps. 122:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

A Song of Ascents; of David. 122 1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of Jehovah.

WP-Bible plugin
)
16. __________________ (Mt. 13:20Mt. 13:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it;

WP-Bible plugin
)
17. __________________ (Jn. 3:29-30Jn. 3:29-30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, that standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

WP-Bible plugin
)
18. __________________ (Lk. 24:52Lk. 24:52
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

WP-Bible plugin
)
19. __________________ (Lk. 1:14Lk. 1:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

WP-Bible plugin
)
20. __________________ (2 Cor. 8:22 Cor. 8:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

WP-Bible plugin
)
21. __________________ (Heb. 12:2, 11Heb. 12:2, 11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 11 All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.

WP-Bible plugin
)
22. __________________ (Jas. 1:2Jas. 1:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations;

WP-Bible plugin
)
23. __________________ (Jn. 16:20Jn. 16:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

WP-Bible plugin
)
24. __________________ (Jn. 16:21Jn. 16:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world.

WP-Bible plugin
)
25. __________________ (Lk. 10:20Lk. 10:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

WP-Bible plugin
)
26. __________________ (Mt. 25:21Mt. 25:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

WP-Bible plugin
)
27. __________________ (Gal. 5:22Gal. 5:22
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

WP-Bible plugin
)
28. __________________ (3 Jn. 4)

Jn. 15:11Jn. 15:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

WP-Bible plugin
)' data-link='http://www.abiblecommentary.com/blog/2015/09/21/a-bible-study-on-joy-jn-1511/' data-summary=''>

He’s a crook managing other crooks

WHEN I THINK of Zacchaeus, I see Danny DeVito–someone short, crooked, and a little flamboyant…

As an employee of the Roman government who made himself rich by skimming the tax money, Zacchaeus was ostracized from Jewish society.  He’s scum.  And since he manages the local tax collectors, he’s a crook managing other crooks.  His mere presence disgusts his fellow Jews because he is a reminder that they are an occupied country.  Roman soldiers stand next to his tollbooth, enforcing his collections.

But Jesus boldly intrudes into Zacchaeus’s life.  He stops and looks up at him, and then invites Himself over for dinner and to stay the night.  This is similar to the President stopping his motorcade to say he’s coming to your house–Jesus is the hottest thing to hit Israel in a few hundred years.  If you were Zacchaeus, you’d be honored.  Yet I doubt the President would say “I must stay” or “come down immediately” (literally, “hurry up”).

But in the first century “good people” didn’t eat with tax collectors because a meal was not just about eating; it was a sharing of life.  Jesus’ willingness to eat with Zacchaeus told everyone that Jesus not only accepted the tax collector, He also forgave him.  This disgusted the crowd.  Jesus had broken a social taboo.

When we love, we get dirty.  Here the dirt comes the opinions of people who look down on Jesus for associating with someone who has stolen from his fellow Jews and divided their money between himself and the Roman government.

Why does Jesus intrude?  He’s on a God-directed mission to seek and save what was lost.  Jesus sought out Zacchaes.  He didn’t just wait for people to come to Him.  He is an invading king.  But what a strange kingdom:  the poor, outcasts, prostitutes, Samaritans, and women!  No wonder Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36John 18:36
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

WP-Bible plugin
).  Paul E. Miller, “Saying ‘Yes’ To Gentle Intrusion,” Love Walked Among Us, 149-150

Mike Benson

 

 

Just Go!

Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:25-272 Corinthians 11:25-27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; 26  in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my countrymen, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27  in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV).

As I looked through pictures of some of my mission trips recently, I began to list the various means of travel that I have used. Air travel obviously enables me to quickly and comfortably reach distant places.

Once in the field, however, many other transportation methods become necessary. These have included modern cars and vans, four wheel drive vehicles, commercial buses, trucks (riding in the bed), tractors, motorcycles, motorized rickshaws, “people haulers” and “tuk-tuks,” pony, donkey, or ox carts, bicycle rickshaws and rickshaw “vans” bicycles, boats, ferries, plus a considerable amount of plain old walking.

I have walked through rice fields, bamboo thickets, rhododendron and hemlock forests, rocky hills, high mountain passes, and over innumerable foot logs, not to mention many miles on city streets and muddy rural roads.

It is often stated that in the great commission, Jesus commands “Go,” but he does not specify how. A biography of the late evangelist Marshall Keeble is entitled, “From Mule Back to Super Jet with the Gospel.”

Not every place on earth may be reached by four lane highways. Sometimes we must be more inventive or daring in order to reach “every creature.”

Probably no one has embraced this necessity more willingly or effectively than the apostle Paul. In the enumeration of his experiences partially quoted above, he includes “in journeys often,” then goes on to mention many perils associated with those journeys.

As one visualizes the circumstances of those perils he realizes that Paul traveled by land and by boat, suffering from every common danger of each — fatigue, exposure, robbery, thirst, shipwreck, storm – and perhaps many others. None of these stopped him from his traveling on behalf of lost souls and the glorification of God.

Though we are not always told how he traveled on land, some common methods are mentioned in the New Testament, including horseback (Acts 23:24Acts 23:24
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

24 and he bade them provide beasts, that they might set Paul thereon, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.

WP-Bible plugin
), chariot (Acts 9:28Acts 9:28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 And he was with them going in and going out at Jerusalem,

WP-Bible plugin
), and walking (Acts 20:13Acts 20:13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 But we going before to the ship set sail for Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, intending himself to go by land.

WP-Bible plugin
).

Paul simply went wherever he could, and by whatever means was available. Little, save the Holy Spirit himself, hindered or limited his efforts (Acts 16:6- 10Acts 16:6- 10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

WP-Bible plugin
).

Today there are many individuals who have physical, family, or other restrictions which limit their ability to travel or the means by which they travel. Thankfully, the Spirit makes it plain that there are many avenues by which we may serve God, and not every person may or must use each avenue. Some can go and preach, others can send (Romans 10:13-15Romans 10:13-15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 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!

WP-Bible plugin
).

Let us be careful, however, that we do not ignore opportunities and abilities to go, using the difficulty of travel as our excuse.

I am not sure how God is going to receive our “I don’t like to fly” explanation of why we did not do more to reach the lost billions of souls in Asia, Africa and elsewhere (actually I am pretty sure that such excuses will sound pretty lame even to us).

I suspect that after three shipwrecks, Paul may not have been too fond of boats. But he continued to use them because his desire to preach the gospel was greater than his fear.

The New Testament is not overly concerned with Christians’ physical comfort and safety. It is greatly concerned with the souls of the lost.

The great commission is still Jesus’ parting command to believers. We must emulate Paul and other great evangelists of the past, quit complaining about our inconvenience, and just Go!

Michael E. Brooks @ www.forthright.net

Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste

Wasted Resources

As one who has gardened, I often marvel at the process. In the spring I till the ground and bury small seeds under the soil.

Over the next few weeks the plants grow and vegetables are produced. I sometimes think, as I eat the beans I’ve harvested, of the phenomenon I’ve witnessed. Out of inedible dirt has come nourishing food for me and my family.

The wise man had this in mind in Proverbs 13:23Proverbs 13:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor; But there is that is destroyed by reason of injustice.

WP-Bible plugin
: “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste” (NKJV).

The first part of the proverb is what we’ve described: the wonder of being able to make food appear out of the ground. The second part points to unrealized potential. It speaks of soil that could do much good, but instead lies fallow (untilled).

Why was this ground not put to work? There are two views of what the writer had in mind. First, some say that the injustice of others has kept the poor man from working his field. Someone seized his assets and that is why he remains poor.

Others argue that “justice” is better translated as “judgment.” It refers to the landowner’s slothfulness. His lack of industriousness keeps the food in the soil. What might have been will never be because he is lazy or distracted by other pursuits.

In either event, God has provided a resource that has the potential to bless many. How sad when those resources are wasted!

Many Christians have learned the fine art of “poor mouthing.” When asked about their involvement in the work of the kingdom, they reply that they’re not capable of doing the work. Someone else will have to carry the burden. But is that really true? Are there some who have been given no resources at all?

Peter answered that question clearly: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:101 Peter 4:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God;

WP-Bible plugin
).

In the next verse he mentioned two such gifts: speaking (whether in preaching or in conversation), and ministering our various gifts to others. No one, though, can truthfully claim to be without any gifts at all.

As I dig potatoes from the soil in the fall, I’m made aware of the grace of God. Energy invested in tilling the ground will bless me and others whom I love. But will I also till the spiritual soil God has provided? Using these resources, I’ll bring blessings upon myself and others.

How sad to see rich soil left untended!

–by Tim Hall @ www.forthright.net

His marriage was crumbling, his teenage children defiant and, he feared, on drugs.

Circus Juggler

John’s life was spinning out of control. The image that came to his mind was of a circus performer who rode a unicycle and juggled those flaming sticks.

John spent his entire day trying to run from one burning fire to the next, trying to put them all out.

His marriage was crumbling, his teenage children defiant and, he feared, on drugs. His job demanded sixty-hour weeks, and he dare not slow the pace down because there were others who would dearly love to take his job.

Then there was his health — his doctor had just told him that he had high blood pressure, and he needed to lose weight, stop smoking and reduce the stress in his life.

Stress? What stress? If he stopped the cycle, the whole circus would go up in flames!

Then a friend gave him the best advice he had ever heard. “You’ll never catch up with all of life’s demands at once. Why don’t you just master the most important one? Prioritize! Make your life right with God, and the other things will fall into place.”

John did just that. He started going to church. He began to read his Bible. He obeyed the things God told him to do in the scripture. And it worked! He still worked long hours, but his life began to quit its downward spiral.

The unicycle stopped, and the fires went out. When John made God the center of his existence, the rest of his life became less chaotic. The odd thing was that with God Proverbs 16:7Proverbs 16:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 When a man's ways please Jehovah, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

WP-Bible plugin
in the center of his life, all the other relationships came into focus, too.

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7Proverbs 16:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 When a man's ways please Jehovah, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

WP-Bible plugin
, ESV).

–by Stan Mitchell

Centurions and the Bible

The Centurion

The life of a Roman centurion was one of combat, leadership and the continued pursuit of seniority and rank.

A centurion usually commanded a “century” of 80-100 soldiers, but some of them rose to the senior ranks and were the backbone of the Roman legion. A senior centurion, or prima pilus was only outranked by seven other officers in the legion, and was considered a member of the senior staff of the legate, who commanded the legion.

To be considered for senior command, a centurion had to be fiercely loyal to Rome and have no other considerations in his mind. Rome and the emperor were his gods, so it is quite surprising to see such a dedicated soldier developing a love for God’s law and a desire to see Jesus (Matthew 8:5-13Matthew 8:5-13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 and saying, Lord, my servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And he saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 And when Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: 12 but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And the servant was healed in that hour.

WP-Bible plugin
; Luke 7:1-10Luke 7:1-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 1 After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick and at the point of death. 3 And when he heard concerning Jesus, he sent unto him elders of the Jews, asking him that he would come and save his servant. 4 And they, when they came to Jesus, besought him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him; 5 for he loveth our nation, and himself built us our synagogue. 6 And Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: 7 wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say the word, and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9 And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned and said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole.

WP-Bible plugin
).

There’s more. This centurion cared about a slave. The centurion’s servant was a slave, and slaves were generally considered property by Romans. Yet this centurion had compassion on a servant that had become ill and close to death.

Humility was not a common quality in Romans, perhaps much less among centurions, but this one did not believe himself worthy to address Jesus (Luke 7:7Luke 7:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say the word, and my servant shall be healed.

WP-Bible plugin
). He asked the Jews to intercede on his behalf, which they did.

While the world is filled with the proud, in the eyes of God, it is much better to be like this centurion (Proverbs 29:23Proverbs 29:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 A man's pride shall bring him low; But he that is of a lowly spirit shall obtain honor.

WP-Bible plugin
).

The centurion was willing to believe and obey Jesus. The Lord said that the soldier possessed “great faith” (Luke 7:9Luke 7:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned and said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

WP-Bible plugin
), because the commander told Jesus that all the Savior had to do was “say in a word,” and his servant would be healed.

The centurion demonstrates many things about the new kingdom of faith in Christ Jesus, starting with the beginnings of a kingdom based on faithful obedience, not birth; a kingdom based not on personal merit, but on the mercy of Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7Ephesians 2:4-7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ , 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus:

WP-Bible plugin
); and a kingdom formed on the greatness of godliness and humility.

As important as these matters are, the centurion shows the importance of becoming involved in something he believed mattered. Isn’t that one of the really important lessons for us who live in a world that doesn’t want to get involved?

The centurion didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and watch his friend die. May we all have the same kind of love and desire as this humble soldier, and get involved in teaching the world about Jesus!

by John Henson @ www.forthright.net

Truth is always a better teacher than fiction, don’t you think?

Like Slave or King?

The book market is littered with dozens of books on how to have a great life.

A person could learn anything from how to plant a garden to how to follow some television doctor’s prescription for marriage and relationships. That may be entertaining, but is it sound?

The Bible, on the other hand, is filled with actual examples of people, how they conducted their lives and the consequences that ensued. Truth is always a better teacher than fiction, don’t you think?

Let’s see one of the great examples of how the Bible teaches.

In 2 Kings 5, there are four main characters: the leper Naaman, a slave maiden whose name we do not know, a king named Jehoram, and a prophet named Elisha. The lives of all four of these people would become intertwined with real-life lessons for our benefit.

Naaman, a successful leader and a general in the Syrian army, had a problem. He had leprosy. He was the enemy of Israel and an oppressor and kidnapper. However, he was a dying man who needed a cure.

Enter the slave girl. She’s working as a servant and had no status in life, except that she knew the truth. She knew about the one true God and about a prophet in Israel who could help Naaman. She could have withheld the truth from him, instead she told him there was a prophet in the land who would cure him of his dread disease.

Jehoram, the king, was not of the same mind as the slave girl. He didn’t want this powerful man in his kingdom and wasn’t about to make his enemy whole again.

When we look at the example of the slave girl and of Jehoram, which one did the right thing? The answer is perfectly clear, isn’t it?

The slave girl shared the truth with Naaman and this seemingly insignificant person saved the life of a mighty man. Jehoram, however, would have gladly remained silent and allowed Naaman to die.

How does this apply to my life? When it comes to telling others about Jesus, are we like the slave girl, or like Jehoram? Are we willing to share the good news of Jesus with others and help save their souls, or are we like Jehoram and hoard the good news, keeping it to ourselves?

If we teach, others may live. If we remain silent, many could die spiritually. Let’s start teaching.

by John Henson @ www.forthright.net

THE AMERICAN DIPPER BIRD

If we saw this little bird out in the wilderness, we probably would not think it is anything special.  We would be completely mistaken though.  God has given this bird some very unique abilities that make it extra special and worth exploring.  The name of this bird is the American Dipper.

The American Dipper is commonly found in mountainous regions around fast moving rivers.  The reason this is the case is because this is where it gets most of its food. It does not just go around the shores and pick up little morsels here and there though.  It literally dives down and swims around the river to get food.  It is actually diving and swimming against the current with ease in order to get the food it needs.

Since it does these things, God has given this bird some unique upgrades to make this possible in the first place.  (1) It is equipped with an extra transparent eyelid (called a nictitating membrane) that allows it to see under water. (2) It has scale like flaps to close up it’s nostrils so they do not fill up with water when diving. (3) Even though it lives in mountainous regions with icy waters, this bird has special feathers and glands that produce a type of “waterproofing oil” to keep the bird dry and warm even when diving.  (4) Since it uses its wings to swim (as opposed to webbed feet like ducks), it’s wings are extra powerful so it can fight the current of the river and move around with incredible ease and accuracy.  (5) It has air sacs in inside to help with submerging and buoyancy.

(Click Here for Video of This Bird in Action) – http://bit.ly/1c66e4d

The American Dipper truly is an incredible bird.  God has obviously placed some very special skills in this bird.  As we always say, there is little that evolution can offer as to how an animal like this would develop the ability to fly, swim, and all that it takes to do both with such ease.  How could it know to develop the extra eyelid, the nostril flaps, extra warm feathers, air sacs, and everything else?  God has made our creation special (Genesis 1), and in this creation we are able to see the evidence of Him (Romans 1:20Romans 1:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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:

WP-Bible plugin
).

–Brett Petrillo

Sources:
http://talkaboutwildlife.ca/profile/?s=233
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/dipper.aspx
http://whatbird.wbu.com/obj/559/_/American_Dipper.aspx
http://www.inplainsite.org/html/animals_that_prove_creation.html

 

A preacher once declared that he never made friends in the congregation he served because he knew he would have to say goodbye one day

Till we meet again

“Every parting gives a foretaste of death; every coming together again a foretaste of the resurrection” (Arthur Schopenhauer).

* I was just four when I stood at an airport and said goodbye to my friend Chucky at the Salisbury airport in Rhodesia. I asked my parents if he would ever come back “from the sky.”

* I was almost eighteen when I said goodbye to Paul. He was killed in an auto accident, just a year older than I.

* I was forty-five years old when I stood at the grave of my mother and said goodbye.

A preacher once declared that he never made friends in the congregation he served because he knew he would have to say goodbye one day. I have made friends in every congregation I have served!

I have endured this “foretaste of death” too many times to take my brethren for granted. I will not tell them I appreciate them for the first time at a graveside, or a farewell potluck dinner. I will not abandon them at the drop of a hat for a trifle.

And I will appreciate the opportunities I have to be with them, to sing and pray, to listen reverently, attentively, to our Father speak. Because worship with these brethren is a “foretaste of the resurrection.”

Our songs tell us of this sweet fellowship. “We gather here, in Jesus name.” “We gather together, to ask the Lord’s blessing.” We meet each other “in sweet communion.” When we “asunder part,” it gives us “inward pain.”

And friends, time is precious.

I can’t understand a child of God who turns his brother into a “pillar of salt” in his haste to get out of the church building after services. I can’t understand a Christian who has to be bribed or browbeaten into returning Sunday night. What if you miss seeing a sister in Christ … and something happens where you belatedly realize the next time you see her will be in heaven?

Friends, our spiritual family is precious.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:11Hebrews 10:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 And every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins:

WP-Bible plugin
ESV).

Some friends I will only see again in heaven. But I hope to see you this Sunday!

Stan Mitchell

The preacher won’t thank God for such a terrible day

A minister was known for always thanking God in his public prayers. One Sunday morning was particularly terrible and gloomy. A church member though to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t thank God for such a terrible day.” When the preacher got up and began to pray, he said, “We thank Thee, O God, that every day is not always like this.”

Anyone can be thankful when life is good. It really takes some effort to be thankful when life is difficult. Being thankful is a practiced skill. It’s a mindset we have to constantly work on. When we do, we are likely to find many, many wonderful parts of our lives to give thanks for, especially the small ones we take for granted.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-181 Thessalonians 5:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.

WP-Bible plugin
says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

God wants us to be thankful people. Finding something to be thankful for may take some time, it may take some creativity, and it may even send us into deep thought. No matter what it takes, let’s practice the habit of being thankful.

–Brett Petrillo

A “treasure” which not rust, cannot be stolen, nor can it be destroyed by moths (Matthew 6:19-20).

Missed Fortune

There is a regular gambler at the Nugget Hotel & Casino in Nevada. He goes there a couple of days a week to try his luck on the video poker machine. When asked how he is doing, 76-year-old Ron Wayne replies, “I’m living off my Social Security and I do a modest trade in collectors’ stamps and coins.”

On April 1, 1976, the same Ron Wayne started working for a new computer company: drafting documents, mediating disputes, and creating an operating manual. For this work, he was awarded a 10% stake in the new company.

But he had early misgivings. He had been unsuccessful in starting a previous business. He had racked up thousands of dollars in debt and was concerned that history would repeat itself with this new job. In order to make this newly formed company a success, it would require a lot of hard work and could be a very rough ride, one which he was reluctant to take!

Eleven days after he helped form the company, Ron removed himself from the company charter. He was paid $800 for his 10% stake in this fledgling computer company which they named… “Apple Computers.”

As you probably know, that stock eventually exploded in value. If his short-lived career at Apple had gone differently, he would be holding a different kind of winnings: 10% of Apple’s stock. Today, that stock would be worth $22 billion! Ron Wayne sold it for $800.

Yet, there is a far GREATER fortune available to ALL that sadly, MANY are forfeiting TODAY!

This “fortune” cannot be calculated monetarily for it is worth more than all the silver and gold in the world (cf. 1 Peter 1:18-191 Peter 1:18-19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:

WP-Bible plugin
). This “treasure” will not rust, cannot be stolen, nor can it be destroyed by moths (Matthew 6:19-20Matthew 6:19-20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

WP-Bible plugin
). It is eternal, unlike the temporal things of this world (1 John 2:15-171 John 2:15-17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

WP-Bible plugin
). It is not something that can be earned (Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory.

WP-Bible plugin
) or won; it is a gift that must be accepted on the right terms.

The “FORTUNE” is ETERNAL LIFE  and FORGIVENESS of SIN made possible through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world (1 John 2:21 John 2:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

WP-Bible plugin
).

This GIFT is available to ALL those who will place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31Acts 16:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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.

WP-Bible plugin
), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31Acts 17:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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.

WP-Bible plugin
), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10Romans 10:9-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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.

WP-Bible plugin
), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (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.

WP-Bible plugin
).

PLEASE don’t squander YOUR opportunity to receive this FORTUNE”…

Trust and obey Jesus today!

— David A. Sargent

 

Matthew 6:19-20Matthew 6:19-20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

WP-Bible plugin
).' data-link='http://www.abiblecommentary.com/blog/2015/09/07/a-treasure-which-not-rust-cannot-be-stolen-nor-can-it-be-destroyed-by-moths-matthew-619-20/' data-summary=''>

The average child laughs 150 times a day

LAUGHTER

Since this article is about laughter, it seemed appropriate to start off with a joke:

A group of expectant fathers were in a waiting room, while their wives were in the process of delivering babies. A nurse came in and announced to one man that his wife had just given birth to twins. “That’s quite a coincidence” he responded, “I play for the Minnesota Twins!” A few minutes later another nurse came in and announced to another man that he was the father of triplets. “That’s amazing,” he exclaimed, “I work for the 3M company.” At that point, a third man slipped off his chair and laid down on the floor. Somebody asked him if he was feeling ill. “No,” he responded, “I just happen to work for the 7-up company.”

We all enjoy a good laugh. Unfortunately, we probably do not laugh as much as we should. An interesting statistic states, “While the average child laughs 150 times a day, say researchers at the University of Michigan, the average adult laughs only 15 times”(Youth Worker Update, Signs of the Times, August, 1993, p. 6). How often do you think you laugh? Do you laugh often, rarely, or maybe somewhere in-between? When we think about it, adults really do laugh a whole lot less then most children.

As Christians, we should be especially happy and full of laughter. Why? Because of scriptures like this, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal” (John 3:16John 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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.

WP-Bible plugin
). God loves us so much that He sent Christ so we can have eternal life with Him. This should make us extremely happy, and as a result, we should laugh more. Christians have a lot to be happy about.

Proverbs 17:22Proverbs 17:22
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.

WP-Bible plugin
says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” God has given us so much joy partly because He knows how healthy it can be. According to some facts, laughter can reduce stress, boost the immune system, help fight infection, and reduce pain. Overall, happiness, joy, and laughter really are a good for us.

As we go on living our lives, let’s remember the joy that we have in Christ. If we have lost that joy or have not yet attained it, let’s get it. Let’s remember the incredible joy and happiness that is found in God and to let that cheerfulness out.
–Brett Petrillo

Unleash the Power

Writing to Glorify God

God calls us to spread the gospel to the world (Mark 16:15Mark 16:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

WP-Bible plugin
). As long as the message is not compromised, the style of communication resides with the imagination and technologies of man.

The written word has stirred hearts for thousands of years. Nations rise and fall on the power of words. They open hearts or shatter them forever. Souls move into the light or run to darkness through the power of ink on canvas.

How do we move people for good with our humble thoughts? What methods will stir the passions of men and bring them closer to God? If we will produce impactful words that lead readers to salvation, we must consider these four concepts.

1. Unleash the Power.

We must open our minds to the potency of language. Seeking the right word requires that we are familiar with the language. The storehouses of our mind brim with resources, because we have planted and harvested.

A writer who will not read is a writer who will not be read. If we will not fill our plate, we cannot eat.

The tool of language will be ineffective, if it is dulled by lack of use. Learn new words and their meanings and allow them to become partners in your art.

Become a voracious and judicious reader. Become a student of quality writers. Study their craft and emulate, as necessary. Seek out advice on growing as a penman. No one is born a masterful writer or artist. It requires knowledge, study, sweat and blood. Do the work because souls are worth the price we pay.

2. Weigh the Words.

Experienced writers know that great articles are not in the writing, but in the editing. Jumbled thoughts take people nowhere, but to confusion. Razor sharp words keep the attention of their readers.

Spend more time editing than writing. Painstakingly examine every word. Be ruthless and pare the piece down until it is tight and seamless. Ensure that the reader remains in the article. Polish the pacing and rhythm so the reader is carried along with the stream of ideas.

3. Wrestle the Barriers.

All readers bring a set of defenses to a Biblical article, ready to protect their sins and weaknesses. We must be wiser than their schemes.

A skilled writer will study the human mind and patterns of behavior, so they can penetrate the walls we all place around ourselves. Our words must go under their defenses, so the word of God will hit the mark and hearts can be changed.

4. Challenge the Reader.

Paul calls us to speak the “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15Ephesians 4:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;

WP-Bible plugin
). However, we must be penetrating and address sin, without attacking the person. We are trying to turn them toward God, not to kill and mount them on our wall.

Know the Book and the most incisive ways to soften the hardest hearts. Utilize the Word of God to pierce the souls of men (Acts 2:37Acts 2:37
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

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?

WP-Bible plugin
). We seek salvation above everything else.

To produce meaningful writing, we must create portable images. Write visually and the reader will enter the story. Use illustrations and images that convey the meaning and they will spring to life in vivid colors. Jesus used parables and we follow his lead in producing moving pictures for the reader.

Will we write an article or the article? Will we seek to make a difference or meet a deadline? Souls matter more than cold bylines.

God’s mission deserves our best. Open the Word to the world and show the Savior to the people. The responsibility is daunting but the rewards are golden.

Richard Mansel