THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY APPEAR TO BE

Sometimes things seem obvious to us. They appear to be one way, when really they are the opposite.

When Deborah, the prophetess, became a judge over Israel, she ruled over the people from under a palm tree. The Children of Israel came to have her settle their disputes.

The Children of Israel had been out of favor with God after Ehud, the second judge of Israel, died. God punished them by delivering them into the hand of Jabin, the king of Canaan.

There was a man in Jabin’s army by the name of Sisera. Sisera was a captain, and Judges 4 tells us he had 900 chariots of iron and oppressed the Israelites for 20 years.

Deborah, a prophetess, was the fourth judge of Israel. During Deborah’s time as judge, God decided it was time for Israel to take on the army of Jabin; Deborah sent for Barak to prepare him to lead God’s army into battle.

Deborah explained that God wanted Barak to take 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun, go to the river Kishon where Sisera would be, and God would deliver Sisera into the hands of Israel.

Barak’s answer to Deborah was, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go” (Judges 4:8 ESV). Do you think he was just a coward? There is no explanation, but Deborah was not happy with him.

She told Barak, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (Judges 4:9).

It appears that Deborah would be the one to receive the glory for this defeat of Sisera, but things are not as they first appear to be.

Barak did take 10,000 men, and he and Deborah went to do battle. When Sisera heard that Barak was on his way, he got his 900 chariots of iron and all of his men and headed to the river. This was exactly what God had said he would do. The battle began; Sisera ran away, and Barak destroyed all of the army. Not one man was left.

While Barak was destroying King Jaban’s men, Sisera, running for his life, found the tent of a woman named Jael. She was the wife of a man that had made peace with King Jabin, and Sisera thought he would be safe with her.

Jael saw Sisera coming, and she invited him to come to her tent. There she gave him milk to drink and then covered him with a rug. He was still fearful, so he told her to stand at the opening of the tent to watch for the enemy. He told her that if anyone came and asked if he was there to tell them “no.

Evidently, Sisera fell asleep; and Jael took advantage of the situation. She took a tent nail and a hammer, and she quietly went to where Sisera was sleeping. Then she took the tent nail and hammered it into his temple pinning him to ground.

Eventually Barak showed up at Jael’s tent. She said, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking” (Judges 4:22). When he followed her into the tent, he saw Sisera dead with the nail in his temple.

There is no explanation for why Jael did what she did. Whatever the reason, Jael received the glory for the defeat of Sisera, not Barak.

Sisera went into that tent with every expectation of hiding from his enemy, resting from his escape, and then going on with his life. But things were not as they appeared to be.

Jael turned out to be as much an enemy as Barak and his army. She allowed him to think that she would protect him, but he lost his life at the hands of a woman he thought was his friend.

The lesson to be learned is to be careful whom you trust. Those who say they are our friends may not have our best interests at heart. Certainly we wouldn’t expect someone we think is our friend to put a tent nail through our temple, but they can do a lot of damage to our reputation.

How often do we find that those who claim to be our friends are really our enemies? Micah 7 warns, “Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend.” He later says, “But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

Solomon said, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

We need to put our trust in God, not in man. We need to live our lives preferring those of like faith, not those who disagree with our moral values.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (First Corinthians 15:33).

Sandra Oliver

HOW GOD DEALS WITH HIS PEOPLE IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS – LESSON 6

 

WE KNOW FROM MATTHEW 28:18 THAT JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY AFTER THE CROSS.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

JESUS GAVE LAWS THAT ARE OPPOSITE TO THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS. (Matt. 5:31-39).  HE SEEMED TO BE CONTRADICTING THE MOSAIC LAW.

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matt. 5:17-18

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Why were the Jews astonished when Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:28-29)?
  2. Did Jesus teach the Law of Moses like the scribes and Pharisees taught it (Matt. 7:29)?
  3. With what authority did Jesus teach (Matt. 28:18)?
  4. Did the Law of Moses allow a man to put away his wife for any cause (Matt. 5:31; Matt. 19:3-8)?
  5. Under the Old Testament Law, what did God think of a man who put his wife away (Mal. 2:14-16)?
  6. Did Jesus allow a man to put away his wife for any cause (Matt. 19:9)?
  7. To whom did God command the apostles to listen (Matt. 17:1-8)?
  8. Did Jesus add anything to the Law of Moses regarding not committing adultery (Matt. 5:27-28)?
  9. Did Jesus allow men to swear as Moses did in the Old Testament (Matt. 5:33-37)?
  10. Did Jesus command His disciples to obey the Law of Moses which allowed them to demand an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Matt. 5:38-39)?
  11. Did Jesus allow His disciples to hate their enemies (Matt. 5:43-44)?
  12. Were the commands of the New Testament generally like the commands in the Old Testament (Heb. 8:9-10)?
  13. What sign did God give concerning His presence in the Old Testament temple (Matt. 27:50-51)?
  14. Who had been in the Old Testament temple before the cross (Matt. 23:20-21)?
  15. *Did Jesus come to destroy the Law of Moses (Matt. 5:17)?
  16. Did Jesus fulfill the Law of Moses (Matt. 5:18)?
  17. What happened to the Law of Moses after it was fulfilled (Matt. 5:18; Heb. 9:15-18; Heb. 8:10-13)?
  18. What happened to the Law of Moses when Jesus died (Col. 2:14)?

PLEASE NOTICE:

*The NIV, NAS, NLT, RSV, NAS—UPDATED, erroneously use the word “abolish” in Mt. 5:17 instead of destroy which makes it contradict Eph. 2:15. This is a very important heads-up concerning the versions you may be using.  If any students are following these spurious versions they will not understand the question. Remember also that I made a notation regarding which version to use in all my courses.

Thanks,

Beth

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17).

Destroy: Strong’s NT:2647 kataluo (kat-al-oo’-o); from NT:2596 and NT:3089; to loosen down (disintegrate), i.e. (by implication) to demolish (literally or figuratively); specially [compare NT:2646] to halt for the night:

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” (Eph. 2:15).

–Beth Johnson

MULIEBRAL STUDIES  http://pilgrimstranger.wordpress.com/
MULIEBRAL VIEWPOINT  http://pilgrimstranger39.wordpress.com/  or http://helpmeettohim.org
BOOKS  http://tinyurl.com/km5bly

Direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going fast nowhere

Have you ever stopped to think about your life and where you are headed?  I have.

Many times we get caught up in this world, more often than we care to think, but for all of its amusement, entertainment and possessions, none of them will go with us when we die.   It’s so easy to get distracted, and before we know it, we look up and another year has passed.  Our children enter another a new grade, we turn a year older, and at times we want time to stop and let us catch up.  The speed this life takes never seems to allow us to stop and think on our ways.  We are over committed, over worked, overly tired and life keeps speeding by us at a break neck pace.  But time stops for no one. As a lyric in a song says, “time just moves on down the line, and there’s nothing left but time.”  Until one day time stops and there is no more tomorrow.  No more time to teach, no more time to serve God, no more time to set aright things which are amiss in our lives.  Then what?

As in the account of the rich man and Lazarus, once we cross over into the eternal, there will be no more chances to repent of anything, no more chances to obey the Gospel, no more chances to serve God.  What direction will you take?  One direction leads to Him and one to Satan.  A most sobering thought.

“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:  the rich man also died, and was buried, And in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:  but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed:  so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house.  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham:  but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”    Luke 16

Time ran out for Lazarus and a new life began.  Eternity without suffering and hunger.  Eternity where he was comforted.  Conversely, time ran out for the rich man.  He could have lived differently, but did not choose the right direction for his life.  While there was time, things could have been much different for him.  He could have been with Lazarus, but he opted to live as he wanted and death came and eternity in torment began for him.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord:  and he delighteth in His way.   Psalms 37:23

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:  I will guide thee with Mine eye.”    Psalms 32:8

“He restoreth my soul:   He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names’s sake.”    Psalms 23:3

It is in moments of quiet reflection these thoughts come to us, and the thoughts can be frightening, for none of us know when we will vacate this life.  And though we don’t want to dwell on death but live our lives, we must think about eternity and work toward spending eternity with Him.  We will not get to heaven by accident.  This life is preparation for heaven.  Heaven is a place for prepared souls.

Let us think on our ways, and not let the world distract us as the rich man in Luke 16.

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”    Proverbs 3:6

“Direction is so much more important than speed.  Many are going fast nowhere.”   ~ Unknown

Eileen Light

 

SINFUL PLEASURES – the things others like to do.

I found a devotional today and it certainly is true for some people.  I’m quite sure we have all faced them at one time or another, be it in our families, work place or congregations.  I pray you will find it helpful to you in your life as well.

THE CENTER OF THINGS – the place where I am.

GOOD IDEAS – those that agree with mine

BAD IDEAS – those that oppose mine.

SINFUL PLEASURES – the things others like to do.

INNOCENT PLEASURES – the things I like to do.

A SENSIBLE PERSON:  one who heeds what I say.

BENEVOLENCE:  everyone giving handouts to me.

HUMILITY – everyone bowing to my whims.

PATIENCE:  everyone bearing with me.

COOPERATION:  everyone working with me.

HOSPITALITY:  everyone entertaining me.

ENCOURAGEMENT:  everyone bragging on me.

UNITY:  everyone going along with me.

SYMPATHY:  everyone identifying with me.

MEEKNESS:  everyone stepping aside for me.

A CONTENTIOUS PERSON:  one who disagrees with me.

VISITATION – everyone coming to visit with me.

Such a person can’t see because he has too much “I” in his eye.  This blinds him to the better and fuller life.  It leaves his own little house desolate.”       ~ Leroy Brownlow

“An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and a pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly.”      ~ Tozer

Eileen Light

 

Going, going, gone!

Drawn Swords, Blueberry Tart, Xanthippe’s Halo. These are part of the now nonexistent collection for which I still wistfully keep records. It might be the horticultural equivalent of an obituary column, where we mourn the passing of loved ones. I might replace some of them, but for now they are simply fond memories.

Every gardener has her list of failures, and mine gets longer every year. This year it was my seven-foot tall brugmansia that succumbed to a very hard frost. Even in the garage, it was too cold for this favorite to stay alive. One day it was full of blooms, filling the garage with the most wonderful fragrance; the next day the whole tree was brown and limp.

But in the case of one of my most stunning irises, “Drawn Swords,” the demise came slowly. I had purchased this beauty at a local iris farm, but couldn’t decide where in the garden I should put it. It bloomed nicely in its nursery pot for the second year, and then the rhizomes began to get weaker.

You see, irises propagate by branching off the old rhizomes, and when those new branches touch the sides of a planting pot, they stop growing. The older pieces simply get weaker and eventually fade away.

The third year, I gave this iris a garden spot to spread out and thrive. Whether it was too late to revive the struggling roots, or the new site was not sunny enough with the zinnias growing around it, I’ll never know.

The fourth year this horizontal root had shrunk to only a couple of inches, with no branches. The leaf blades were short and weak. I lovingly dug it up and put it into the very best soil I had. As I did so, several of the fans just fell off in my hands. And then……it died.

We must not let this happen to the truly precious things in life. Our lives are like the flower of grass (1 Peter 1:24). It is apparently beyond our capabilities to comprehend how quickly time goes by, and how we really cannot hold on to anything this life has to offer.

Indeed, it was the very act of containing this plant for too long that actually caused its death.

Xanthippe’s Halo, as rare as this iris is, might be found to replace my former plant. But I can never go back and find another Georgeanne, Nancy, Tom or Teresa; as much as I miss them and wish I had taken more time to be with them before they passed on. Some of them passed suddenly like my brugmansia, others faded away after long illnesses.

The same is true about seasons of our lives. We treasure and enjoy our children as they are small. Then we laugh, cry, and maybe even yell with them as they grow into teenagers, and hold fast the good times and memories that we make.

As they spend less and less time at home, the bonds seem to grow weak, just like my iris leaves.

I suppose it appeared strange to take a call right after our Wednesday night Bible class ended, but it was from our daughter who recently moved to a different time zone. As the buzz around me grew louder, I zoned in on the phone call. Important? It was about a recipe. But more importantly, it was about keeping this love alive in spite of the distance.

Because all too soon, we could hear the faint echoes as if it were the voice of an auctioneer — “Going, going, GONE!”

Christine (Tina) Berglund

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

He was a young man, respectful and concerned about the future. Matthew describes him as having great possessions.

When he came to talk with Jesus, he asked Him a single question. He asked, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16 ESV). Jesus gave him a simple answer. He said, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (verse 17).

Any Jew would have known that Jesus was referring to the Ten Commandments, the ones given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They valued these commandments, and most Jews tried to live by them.

The young man wanted to know which ones, and Jesus listed them. “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (verses 18 and 19).

The young man assured Jesus that he had kept these commandments since he was a child, and he wanted to know what else he needed to do. Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor and to come follow Him. His reward would be treasure in heaven.

The young man was sad with what Jesus said was required of him, and he went away sad. His riches were more important than doing the one thing that would give him eternal life in heaven.

The thing that is so interesting to me about these verses is that Jesus told the young man to love his neighbor as himself. He obviously loved himself and his possessions, but he couldn’t love his neighbor as he loved himself.

Paul’s message to the Galatians was the same. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14).

What is involved in loving your neighbor as yourself? First, we must love ourselves. We can’t fulfill the command unless we have the right kind of love and appreciation for who we are.  This is not an arrogant feeling about us, but rather a confidence in our faith and our place in God’s kingdom. Paul told the Romans, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3).

Second, we must understand who our neighbor is. Luke told of a lawyer that tried to trick Jesus by asking him a question similar to the young ruler. He said, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.’ But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:25-29).

Then Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Two men, both religious, walked by without offering any assistance to a wounded man. The third man, a Samaritan, stopped to help the man, bandaging his wounds and taking him to a place of safety. Jesus then asked the lawyer, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, You go, and do likewise’” (verse 37).

Loving your neighbor as yourself is showing mercy to those around you. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (I John 3:18).

Third, we need to follow Paul’s admonition in Galatians 6:2. He said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”. Be sensitive to the things your neighbor is experiencing. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Fourth, build trust with your neighbor. Paul said, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (First Corinthians 13:4-6).

Fifth, put others before yourself. In loving our neighbor, we love God. “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (First John 4:21).

Helen Keller said, “It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellowmen, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.”

We should take to heart the admonition Jesus gave to the rich young man as well as those given by Paul, Luke, and John. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Sandra Oliver

HOW GOD DEALS WITH HIS PEOPLE IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS – LESSON 5

 

HOW GOD DEALS WITH HIS PEOPLE IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS

LESSON 5

WE HAVE SEEN THAT THE GREATEST AND THE SECOND GREATEST COMMANDS ARE NOT PART OF THE TEN. ACCORDING TO Matt. 22:36-40 WE SEE THIS MAKES AT LEAST TWELVE COMMANDMENTS (NOT 10).
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

MOST BIBLE STUDENTS AGREE NUMBERS 18:26 IS NOT PART OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.

QUESTIONS:
Some of these questions may seem redundant, but my intent was to phrase them in a slightly different way to help students to see the reasoning behind them. If you feel they have been answered in earlier lessons, please let me know so I can delete them for future students.

1. What did God command the Israelites not to do on Saturday (Exo. 35:2)?
2. To whom did God give the Old Testament commandments (Deut. 5:1-3)?
3. Did God expect those who were uncircumcised (like the Philistines) to keep His covenant (Exo. 12:49, Lev. 24:22, Num. 15:16, Num. 15:29, Deut. 31:12)?
4. What promise of land did God give to the Israelites if they would keep His covenant (Deut. 11:22-24)?
5. Has God made a covenant with any man today to give him all the (oil) land from Egypt to the Euphrates if he would keep the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:9)?
6. What promise concerning children did God give to the Israelites (Lev. 26:9)?
7. What promise did the Lord give to Israel concerning disease if they would keep His covenant (Exo. 15:26)?
8. What promise did God make the Israelites concerning wealth if they would obey His commandments (Deut. 28:11-13)?
9. Did God promise eternal life to anyone who would obey the OT commandments (John 5:39)?
10. **Did Jesus come to destroy the Law or the prophets (Matt. 5:17)?
11. Did Jesus fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matt. 5:18; John 17:4)?
12. Did God promise to make a New Covenant with His people in the last days (Heb. 8:6-13)?
13. Has God made a New Covenant with Spiritual Israel (His church) today (Heb. 9:15-17)?
14. Describe how God compared the New Covenant to a man’s will (Heb. 9:15-17)?
15. According to civil law, if a man makes a new will, what automatically happens to the old will?
16. When did Jesus’ New Covenant take effect (Heb. 9:17)?
17. How many wills (covenants) does God have in effect at the same time (Heb. 10:9)?
18. What happened to the Old Covenant when God made a New Covenant with His people (Heb 8:10-13)?
PLEASE NOTICE:
**The NIV, NAS, NLT, RSV, NAS—UPDATED, erroneously use the word “abolish” in Mt. 5:17 instead of destroy which makes it contradict Eph. 2:15. This is a very important heads-up concerning the versions you may be using. If any students are following these spurious versions they will not understand the question. Remember also that I made a notation regarding which version to use in all my courses.
Thanks, Beth

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matt. 5:17).

Destroy: Strong’s NT:2647 kataluo (kat-al-oo’-o); from NT:2596 and NT:3089; to loosen down (disintegrate), i.e. (by implication) to demolish (literally or figuratively); specially [compare NT:2646] to halt for the night:

“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” (Eph. 2:15).

–Beth Johnson

MULIEBRAL STUDIES  http://pilgrimstranger.wordpress.com/
MULIEBRAL VIEWPOINT  http://pilgrimstranger39.wordpress.com/  or http://helpmeettohim.org
BOOKS  http://tinyurl.com/km5bly
This entry was posted on December 7, 2017. 1 Comment

They didn’t feel like singing. They felt like crying

Have you ever felt so low your heart did not feel like singing, nor listening to music?  When the heart is troubled and saddened over losses or troubles, sometimes it is hard to put a smile on your face and a song in your heart.  I have had it said to me by various acquaintances when a loved one dies you should rejoice because they are in paradise.  They may have meant well, but the statement sounded rather insensitive to me, and not the right time nor the correct place.  Even our Lord cried when Lazarus died.  Sometimes it is just better not to say anything than tell people who have lost loved ones they’ve gone to a far better place.  Those left behind who are faithful Christians know this, but we must allow them to grieve and their heart to catch up – so to speak.

“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying unto Him, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid Him?  They said unto Him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved Him.”    John 11: 32-36

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”    Romans 12:15

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”     Ephesians 4:32

“They didn’t feel like singing.  They felt like crying.  For they were captives in Babylon, foot-sore, hand-calloused and heart-wounded.  Why the request came, we cannot be sure.  It may have been a taunt, hateful ridicule, or mad derision.  However, it could have been no more than curiosity, seeking to hear the songs of foreigners.

“Their answer for not complying was, ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’  It wasn’t the place.  Nor the time.  It was not proper to force from their lips what the heart did not feel.

“They were so opposed to the request and so outraged by it that they said, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning . . . let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.’  They refused to forget Jerusalem’s calamities.  It pressed them with anxiety and pain.  One doesn’t sing and make merry when a loved one is dying, nor when the flag of the oppressor is hoisted above him.  Under the circumstances, they felt that if they should ever be tempted to act out of keeping with the sad facts, it would be better for their right hand to be stilled and their tongue to be silenced.  Their example inspires us.”      ~ Leroy Brownlow

Be thoughtful.  Be kind.  Be understanding.  At some point, you, too, will be in their shoes, and an understanding heart and words of encouragement go a long way toward the healing of their heart.  Just knowing one is beside us makes all the difference.  No words have to be spoken.  Just be a shoulder and allow them to speak when they are ready.  It takes some time to get through grief from the loss of a loved one, but God is with us and understands our hearts, our tears and our fear of the future without them.

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”     ~ Unknown

Eileen Light

 

Have We Stopped Weeping?

Weeping is a word we do not use often; in the Bible it is used to express mourning, grieving, and sobbing.  Weep comes from the Greek word “klaio” which means to mourn, to lament, to show grief.  We are surrounded with lost souls.  Do we see them as lost, or have we become sidetracked from our mission to go, baptize, and teach them to observe all Jesus has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20)?  When is the last time we have wept, with tears flowing down our cheeks, for someone who is lost in sin?

Jesus had compassion over the lost for they were like a sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36); He wept over the lost souls of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-42).   We are to follow the example of the early church, first written about in Acts, and go each day teaching and preaching Jesus (Acts 5:42).  The parable in Luke 14 uses such a powerful word.  It states, “to go out and COMPEL people to come in, that my house may be filled.”   The definition of compel is to force or oblige someone to do something.  This is not by physical force, but by our words.  Do we press, push, or urge people to follow Christ, or have we stopped weeping for them?

The Bible tells us that there is one church built by Jesus (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; Matthew 16:18).  When Jesus adds us to His church, this does not make us perfect.  We still sometimes sin, but we can be forgiven IF we are still obeying the commandments (1John 1:6-10).  If we don’t ask for forgiveness and repent (1 John 1:9), we become lost until we repent (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).  We are to love one another (John 15:12; 1 John 5:2) and do all we can to bring the sinner back (James 5:19-20).  Luke 15:4 states, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”  Have we stopped weeping for those who are no longer worshiping with us?

God wants everyone to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).  He needs us to be workers bringing in the lost, for there are many lost ones (Matthew 9:37-38).  We need to pray for the lost and weep for them. Let us be like the author of Psalm 119:136, “My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law.”

Renee Hunter

Scripture taken from NASB (2012)

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