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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Dash, a poem

 
 

Well, it's hard to believe but, December is just about half over already. Where has the year gone? I'm pretty sure that good old Job must have been "up in years" when he wrote "my days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle..." (Job 7:6) because the older I get the faster that weaver seems to work. Time just seems to fly by, doesn't it? Of the things we possess, time has got to be the most precious commodity of all. I'd like to present a little lesson today based on "time" and relate it's usage to what should matter to us.

I once heard a minister speaking at the funeral service of a departed loved one and he quoted a poem that many of you may be familiar with entitled, "The Dash." It referred to the little "dash" found between the beginning and ending years of a person's life. As in the inscriptions we see on tombstones: 1930-2000 for example. It's that "dash" that we're talking about when we speak of our "time."

You see, time only applies to this life. Everything that we do is regulated by time. Our little finite minds can't even fathom something that is "timeless." Something that is eternal. We just can't relate to something without limits, can we? Everything in our world has limits. Like wise old Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes the 3rd chapter "To everything there is a season" with the understanding that "season" equals a "time" or a "limit."

When I think about the relationship of "time" versus "timelessness" I'm reminded of an old cowboy movie I once watched and the "old cowboy" in it made a statement that has stuck with me ever since. He was referring to a man's life on earth when he said, "We travel between the eternities." I thought at the time I heard it, 'what a powerful thing to say about our time here on this earth,' and I still think so today.

You know, we don't know just how long of a time that little "dash" between our beginning and ending years represents, but we do know that our lives are not measured solely by how long we occupy space here. The Psalmist David made an interesting request of the Lord in Psa. 39:4 when he asked to know the "...measure of my days..." As I just mentioned, I don't believe that our "days" are measured by how many of them we have, but rather how we used them.

In saying that, I'm going to cite to you an essay that I feel speaks directly to how we use our "days." How we should "measure" them. How we "travel through the 'dash' of our lives" before we pass on to the next eternity. I used this little essay once before a few years ago, but I think it so meaningful to our thoughts today that I'd like you to consider it again. It was written by a man named Michael Josephson. This is his essay:

 

                                        WHAT WILL MATTER

        READY OR NOT, SOMEDAY IT ALL WILL COME TO AN END.

    THERE WILL BE NO MORE SUNRISES, NO MINUTES, HOURS OR DAYS.

        ALL THE THINGS YOU COLLECTED, WHETHER TREASURED

                OR FORGOTTEN, WILL PASS TO SOMEONE ELSE.

        YOUR WEALTH, FAME AND TEMPORAL POWER WILL SHRIVEL TO                         IRRELEVANCE.

            IT WILL NOT MATTER WHAT YOU OWNED OR WHAT YOUR WERE                         OWED.

    YOUR GRUDGES, RESENTMENTS, FRUSTRATIONS AND JEALOUSIES

                    WILL FINALLY DISAPPEAR.

    THE WINS AND LOSSES THAT ONCE SEEMED SO IMPORTANT WILL                         FADE AWAY.

        IT WON'T MATTER WHERE YOU CAME FROM, OR ON WHAT

                SIDE OF THE TRACKS YOU LIVED, AT THE END.

    IT WON'T MATTER WHETHER YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL OR BRILLIANT.

        EVEN YOUR GENDER AND SKIN COLOR WILL BE IRRELEVANT.

                                    SO WHAT DOES MATTER?

        HOW WILL THE VALUE OF YOUR DAYS BE MEASURED?

    WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT WHAT YOU BOUGHT, BUT WHAT YOU                             BUILT.

                        NOT WHAT YOU GOT, BUT WHAT YOU GAVE.

        WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT YOUR SUCCESS, BUT YOUR                                         SIGNIFICANCE.

    WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT WHAT YOU LEARNED, BUT WHAT YOU                         TAUGHT.

WHAT WILL MATTER IS EVERY ACT OF INTEGRITY, COMPASSION, COURAGE OR SACRIFICE THAT ENRICHED, EMPOWERED OR ENCOURAGED OTHERS TO EMULATE YOUR EXAMPLE.

    WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT YOUR COMPETENCE, BUT YOUR                                     CHARACTER.

    WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU KNEW, BUT

    HOW MANY WILL FEEL A LASTING LOSS WHEN YOU'RE GONE.

        WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT YOUR MEMORIES, BUT THE MEMORIES

                    THAT LIVE IN THOSE WHO LOVED YOU.

    WHAT WILL MATTER IS HOW LONG YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED,

                    BY WHOM AND FOR WHAT.

    LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS DOESN'T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT

            IT'S NOT A MATTER OF CIRCUMSTANCE BUT OF CHOICE.

                            CHOOSE TO LIVE A LIFE THAT MATTERS.

Allow me to just add a couple of passages of scripture to the essay as we close out the lesson for today.

    "He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good and whoso trusteth

      in the Lord, happy is he." Prov. 16:20

    "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep

    his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Eccl. 12:13

Ron Covey

 First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  

 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Washington Irving

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

Washington Irving (1783-1859)

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

The danger of writing

 
I believe that most people don't ever think about the dangers of writing like I and so many others do. When we write we have no choice but to reveal things about ourselves. Those who read our writings see things slip through that make up who we truly are, things that are not often revealed to those with whom we have casual contact day by day. The same is true of those who stand in the pulpits of churches or teach bible classes. After a short while you begin to get a sense of who that person really is, what is important to them, what motivates them is life. You just can't separate what you believe and what you and your life proclaim. It is revealed one small section at a time whether we like it or not. Carl Sandburg once said, "Life is like an onion, you peal it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you cry."

I know that many people have a hard time revealing themselves to others. It's difficult to take a stand, when you are unsure of the response of those around us. We all want to be liked and have the approval of our friends, that's natural for us. Sometimes in life it becomes necessary to take a stand for what is right and not what is popular. That at times, is not just difficult, but to some folks it is terrifying.

I recently ran across a quote by author Gail Godwin, the quote said: "One is taught by experience to put a premium on those few people who can appreciate you for what you are." There are some of you that I cherish, because you allow me to be what I am and love me anyway. You encourage me; you respond to me, you share what you are with me. The question this brings to mind is "What are you?"

We might be fat, skinny, tall, thin, well educated or not so well educated. We might be rich or we might be poor, but it is really not any of those things that define what we are. What defines what we are, is what is unseen to the casual observer. We are defined by our beliefs, our motives, the things we love and the things to which we devote our time, our lives and ourselves.

Jesus speaks on this subject in Matthew 7:15-20, notice his insight into the mater: "Beware of false prophets (teachers) who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." (NLT)

The bottom line is that we need to look for character in our friends, but don't just stop there, encourage character in our friends. Look beyond the outward appearance and see what is really important in life. Take a stand for what is right and good and pure, even if it means standing up to some who try to tear you down for doing what is right.

The apostle Peter tells us how a Christian will live in 1 Peter 4:2-5. Notice what he writes: "You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy, their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead" (NLT)

Thank you for being a friend that encourages me to stand and be counted for the Lord. I pray that we may continue standing for the Lord side by side against a world that may not see our value.

Russ Lawson


First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Best Bible commentary

Need a Bible commentary? Are you buying your first Bible commentary? Do you think a Bible commentary will increase your understanding of the Bible?
 
A web site devoted to Bible study material, and this includes "20 tips on choosing a Bible commentary" is http://www.bumchecks.com.  Visit www.bumchecks.com today to learn more about how to find the best Bible commentary for your study of God's word.

Proverbs 25:11

 
 Solomon said, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" (Proverbs 25:11).   An encouraging word can bring victory out of the jaws of defeat.   Legion are those who, exhausted and defeated, have rebounded to great heights because of one little word of encouragement.  I was reminded of the power of encouragement this week when I came across this little story in the archives of my file system:
 
It was the day for field trials at the grade school.  Various of the young boys were competing with each other to excel in the various sports.  The event at hand was chinning or 'pull-ups.' The first boy strolled up to the bars and pulled himself up ten times, rather confident he would win.  His opponent, Kenneth, came with less certainty.  And when he had chinned the eighth time, he thought he was beaten.  Finally with much pain, he managed to slowly drag his chin above the bars for the ninth time.  And with a child's sense of tragedy, he thought he could not even tie the other boy. But from somewhere down in the depths of a child's courage, he pulled himself up one more time to tie his opponent.  As pain racked the entire upper half of his body, he lowered himself to quit.  Then a little girl's voice from the crowd, an admirer - perhaps his best girl - said with tearful eyes and urgent throbbing voice above the shouts of the other children, 'One more time, Kenneth!'  Her voice was like an electric shock across his face. From somewhere deep within his being there was a call as old as humanity.  Reserves of strength poured through his body.  And with the determined frown of a grown man he dragged himself up for the final and winning pull-up and then collapsed happily on the ground.
 
 Someone once said, "We live by encouragement, and we die without it - slowly, sadly, and angrily."   A simple word of encouragement may very well make the difference between defeat and victory, between failure and success.   Parents who constantly belittle their children, or preachers who habitually berate the congregation seem to have lost sight of the power of a word of encouragement now and then.  Perhaps it would do all of us a world of good to capture the sentiments of this poet:
 
 
Your Ear, A Smile, and A Happy Word
 
If you see somebody having a rough day,
If you see somebody struggling on the way,
If you see somebody with a broken heart,
If you see somebody whose world's come apart,
If you see somebody who's tossed to and fro,
If you see somebody whose back is bent low,
Give him your ear, a smile, and a happy word,
And bid him put his trust in the Blessed Lord.
 
If you see somebody who's fighting with sin,
If you see somebody despised by all men,
If you see somebody who has lost his way,
If you see somebody with too much to pay,
If you see somebody who's wandering about,
If you see somebody who's struggling with doubt,
Give him your ear, a smile, and a happy word,
And bid him put his trust in the Blessed Lord.
 
If you see somebody downtrodden and sad,
If you see somebody that the world counts mad',
If you see somebody confused and distraught,
If you see somebody who's suffering for naught,
If you see somebody whom life's left behind,
 
If you see somebody with a troubled mind,
Give him your ear, a smile, and a happy word,
And bid him put his trust in the Blessed Lord.
 
If you see somebody who's doing all right,
If you see somebody whose burden is light,
If you see somebody with no pain or care,
If you see somebody who's loved everywhere,
If you see somebody not troubled with sin,
If you see somebody who's loved by all men,
Give him your ear, a smile, and a happy word,
And bid him put his trust in the Blessed Lord.
 
                                                              H. L. Gradowith


by Tom Wacaster
 
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We cannot serve God and money -

An illustration for trying to serve God and money:
 
We cannot love or serve two masters, anymore than we can walk in two directions at one time (Warren Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Commentary, 1:240).

Psalm 13 - a sermon on Psalm 13

 
Parents have heard this before and during a vacation or other long trip more times than they care to remember.  Children, "blessed" with a brief attention span, ask, "How much further?  When do we get there?"  Patience can be tried by not knowing how long before something happens and how long something will last. Yet, that is not simply something earthly parents encounter with their children.  The Heavenly Father will expect to hear that an infinite number of times from even His most faithful children.

In Psalm 13, David asks the question of His Father four times. What did He want to know from the Lord?

How long will I be forgotten (1)?
How long will I be neglected (1)?
How long will I be sad (2)?
How long will I be opposed (2)?
David wrestled with agony just as we often have. He needed resolution and longed for an answer. He is a child asking His Father, "How long?"

The answer was prayer (3-4), faith (5), worship and praise (5-6), and appreciation (6).  May I suggest that these will always be the answer when we are perplexed and filled with confusion? Our Father can always be trusted.  He will lead us safely to our final destination, even as we make it ever closer to home!  As we tell our children when they ask us "how much further," "you are closer right now than you have ever been!"  Don't give up before you get there!

Neal Pollard

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Sermon on Jn. 3:16 - free sermon on Jn. 3:16

"Do We REALLY Believe?"
 
 Many people quote John 3:16, "... whosoever believeth in Him ..." then say, "I believe in Jesus, so I'm going to be saved!"  Christianity is not a life of mental acknowledgement to the fact that Jesus is God's Son. It is living a life that proves one believes Jesus is God's Son. Consider the following:
 
A.  Do we really believe that no one can serve two Masters (Matt. 6:24)? Then why is our Christianity subject to our own personal interest?
 
B.  Do we really believe that one must seek the Kingdom of God first? (Matt. 6:33).  Then why is "church" on our schedule only in so far as it doesn't conflict with other things we want to do?
 
C.  Do we really believe that we must walk the narrow path to eternal life? (Matt. 7:13-14).  Then why are so many professing Christians so broad-minded?
 
D.  Do we really believe that we are not to fear those who can only harm the body, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell? (Matt. 10:28).  Then why do we allow friends, relatives and peer groups control our commitment to Jesus?
 
E.  Do we really believe that with God all things are possible? (Matt. 19:26)Then why are we often so pessimistic about the Lord's work?
 
F.  Do we really believe that we must take up our cross daily and follow after Jesus? (Luke 9:23).  Then why is our loyalty to Him so often centered around convenience and entertainment?
 
G.  Do we really believe that unprofitable servants will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth? (Matt. 25:30)Then why are so many content to just "go to church?"
 
H.  Do we really believe that a Christian must offer himself as a living sacrifice and be not conformed to the world? (Romans 12:1-2).  Then why is there so little difference and distinction between professing Christians and those who make no such profession?
 
    Obedience is the only sign that proves one is a true believer. In Hebrews 5:9, we learn that Jesus is NOT the Author of salvation to all who give only mental acknowledgement to the fact that He is the Son of God; but rather the Author of salvation to all who obey Him.  
                       
                                                                                        - - Toby Miller
                                                                                      

Joining a church

People talk about "joining a church" and "which church to join."  In many cases people never consider what God says about "joining a church."  There is a Bible study outline, which may also be used as a sermon outline, that discusses "church membership" at this link:
 
 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arnold H. Glasow

"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion.  You must set yourself on fire."

Arnold H. Glasow, American Humorist (1905-1998)

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

THE EVANGELISTIC APPROACH OF Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:24-28)

THE EVANGELISTIC APPROACH OF Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:24-28)

--They Put Themselves In A Position To Win Souls (26)
-Apollos was speaking in the synagogue; where were Aquila and Priscilla?
-Where are good prospects to be found? Anywhere!  But there are some places where they might be more likely found (visiting our assemblies; community
Bible studies; volunteers for charitable organizations, etc.)
--They Knew Where Their Prospect Stood And What He Believed (26)--"Heard Him"
-We can be so eager to share what we know that we have no idea what they believe, understand, or need.
--They Listened (26)--"They Heard Him" (Notice This Preceded Their Teaching Him"
--They Apparently Were Not Timid Or Easily Intimidated (26)--"He Spoke Out Boldly"
-Apollos was no slouch in his level of knowledge; 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:15
--They Knew How To Use Common Sense In Evangelism (26)
-They understood that "taking him aside" would neither embarrass him nor put him in a defensive posture
-They were tactful.
--They Clearly Communicated (26)--They Explained (We Must Avoid Assumption Or Presumption When We Teach)
--They Undoubtedly Possessed The Grace Of Patience (26)
-In Bible studies, we will inevitably have to "explain" God's Word "more accurately."  It is easy to forget that what we know we acquired over a long period
of time.  It takes "prospects" time and teaching to attain to it.  They might not "get" it immediately or the first time they hear it.
--They Had Vision.
-They saw a man with many assets and passion for the Lord.  They might have thrown up their hands and given up, but instead they led him to the truth and the church gained one of its most eloquent preachers!


Neal Pollard

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mississippi BBQ Sauce

Mississippi BBQ Sauce review - have you used "Mississippi BBQ Sauce"?  If so, do you like it?  What is your favorite variety of this BBQ sauce?

Give your feedback on the Mississippi BBQ Sauce to let others know about your experience!

William Shakespeare's "Hamlet."

 

I have never seen or read the play by William Shakespeare titled "Hamlet."  For this reason if the topic comes up in conversation I do not have anything to say.  I do not know what the play is about or who the main characters are.  I can assume "Hamlet" is one of the characters but I do not even know that for a fact.  Why would anyone want my opinion on the play?  The fact is no one would.  Neither would someone try to teach a math class if they have not studied from a math book.  We would not think of sitting through a history class of a man who has never looked in a history book.  Why then do so many give their opinions on the Bible when they have never read it?  The Bible is like any other book in regards to that fact that it must be read and studied in order to be understood. However, it is like no other book in regards to the fact that only it is a book inspired by God.  Paul wrote, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16).  The Bible is special because it is inspired by God and in it God has told us how to live.  God has communicated to man how He wants us to live in order to please Him. However, it must be read and studied to understand the message God has given.  A man named Philip Brooks put it this way, "The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it and so they see only the dead letter." Sadly God's inspired word to man (the Bible) is not given much attention.  It is not read or studied but still many feel they have the right to teach it.  They take what they have learned from their parents, friends, teachers, and preachers and speak as if they know the Bible.  May this never be the case for those in the Lord's church, let us look in the Scripture and see what God has said.  Let us be men and women of the word.

 
Garrett Bookout
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How to have a marvelous attitude


     The story is told of a man who was walking across the road when he was hit by a car.  The impact knocked him on his head which caused him to be in a coma for two days before he finally regained consciousness.  When he opened his eyes, his loving wife was there beside his bed.  He held her hand and said to her:

     "You know, Judy, you've always been right by my side.  When I was a struggling college student, I failed again and again.  But you were always there with me, encouraging me to go on trying."

     She squeezed his hands as he continued:  "And when I got out of school and went for all of my interviews and failed to get any of the jobs, you stayed right there with me, cutting out more classifieds for me to check on..."

     "Then I started work at this little firm and finally got the chance to handle a big contract.  But I blew it because of one little mistake, and yet you were there beside me all the way.  Then I finally got another job after being laid off for sometime.  But I never seemed to be promoted and my hard work was never recognized.  And so, I remained in the same position from the day I joined the company until now... And, through it all, you were right there by my side."

     Her eyes brimmed with tears as she listened to her husband:  "And now I've been in this accident and when I woke up, you're the first person I see. There's something I'd really like to say to you...."

     She flung herself on the bed to hug her husband, sobbing with emotion.

     He said, "Judy, I think you're just plain bad luck!"

     Our attitude makes a big difference in how we see things, doesn't it?  As the saying goes, we can either see the glass as half full or half empty.  We can either appreciate the good during our times of adversity (the faithfulness of God, greater opportunities to develop our faith, the blessing of good friends to see us through it) or we can moan and complain about our "bad luck."

     The apostle Paul is a great example of someone with a marvelous attitude. Through all of his trials, God had been right there by his side.  But never once did he blame God for his misfortune.  Instead, listen to the positive attitude in Paul's words as he sat imprisoned for preaching the gospel:

     "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel." (Philippians 1:12)

     No moaning, no complaining.  Just a marvelous attitude that brought joy to his life.  May it serve as an example to you today.

Alan Smith
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rachel Cormany, Gettysburg, 1863

                                "If reconciled with God, all is well" (Rachel Cormany, Gettysburg, 1863)

Today I'm going to present a lesson based upon a statement I once heard spoken by a preacher at a funeral service. I thought it interesting at the time and jotted it down just for this purpose. Our lesson is also going to be based upon two words found in the Bible that I intend to use in conjunction with the phrase spoken at the funeral service. Hopefully, I can connect them in an understandable manner.

First, the statement made by the preacher. In his funeral discourse he said, "God has never done anything without a plan." I think that, with those eight little words we can run the gamut of the Bible. From the very beginning to this exact moment. Keep the preacher's words in mind as we proceed through this lesson.

Our two words from the Bible are "Reconciliation" and "Redemption." Let me lay just a few words on you regarding the meaning of those two words. When you see the letters "RE" at the beginning of a word, in most all cases it means "again," as in the word "reorder." And this is the case here today with our two words.

A little more definition is needed here and we'll take "reconciliation" first. If one is being "reconciled" then one must first have been "conciliated," wouldn't you agree? The word "conciliation" simply means "to be united" or "to be in accord." Perhaps another of looking at it is from the opposite direction. The opposite of "conciliation" is "to be alienated."

The word "redemption" requires us to look at the word "deem" which has a meaning of "to hold." The word "redeemed" means "to be bought back, as of something sold." Thus, "redemption" is simply the state of being "redeemed" or of having been repurchased (there's another "re" again). Now, let's see if we can put all of this together.

I said earlier that this lesson would start at the beginning and run to the present moment, so let's go back to the Garden of Eden. Clear back here we'll see that God had a plan for mankind. He said, "Let us make man in our image..." (Gen. 1:26) You can read in John 1:1-2 that Jesus was there, thus the "us" and "our."

Why was man made in the image of God, you might ask? So as to be different from all other creatures of God. Man was given an intellect and therefore does not operate by instinct, as do the other creatures. Man can think and reason, thus has a free, moral agency. That simply means that man can act according to what, and how, he thinks. And God wants man to worship Him of his own accord. Not as a robot, so to speak.

And, because of this intellect, and his freedom to act on that intellect, God knew from the very beginning that man, by his sins, would alienate himself from God, thus a "plan" was needed that would provide a way for man to get himself back into "unity" or "accord" with Him.

Very simply stated, that "plan" was Jesus Christ. Everything from the very beginning and throughout the whole Bible points to one thing - The Messiah, The Savior, who would come and set THE PLAN into motion.

Now, lest you think that it's just me saying this, read the words of the Apostle Paul here: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. 3:9-11)

From the beginning, God knew that His prize creation, man, would go away from Him. Would sell his soul to Satan, as it were, for the "pleasures of sin" during this brief life, rather than follow after righteousness. For this reason, He set in place a "plan" whereby man could know how to return to God. Here's an additional thought about "the plan:" it has never changed from its inception. Never, ever!

So, man, by the misuse of his God-given intellect and free-will, has to have a way of being "reconciled" to God. Or, as earlier defined, being brought back into "unity and accord" with God. That was the exact purpose of "the plan" so that, by following it, man could spend eternity with God.

Remember the other word "Redemption?" Using this word, here is "The Plan" in all of its simplicity: what Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ bought back on Calvary. That's "The Plan." That's why Christ said, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) That's just another way of saying: I am the plan and no one can be reconciled to God, except they "be in Me" (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and thereby "redeemed."

Let me bring this to a close by leaving you with some words penned in her diary by Rachel Cormany of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on June 26th,1863. The battle of Gettysburg is in full swing and the town is completely surrounded by the Confederate Army. There is just her and her baby in the house and they have no hope of escape. Her words were so true to the moment then, and are so true today. She wrote that she and the baby would just have to "take our chance with the rest - trusting in God as our Savior - then, come life, come death, if reconciled with God, all is well."

Ron Covey

St. Louis Rams

 
A hush has fallen over the entire professional football fanbase. The annual NFL draft has begun and the St. Louis Rams have ten minutes to make the first selection.
 
For the first time the draft is being televised in prime time, showing how hugely popular this event is.
 
All who follow sports know that this event has been discussed in agonizing detail for the last several weeks. The "experts" — and there are those who make a lucrative living on being experts on the draft — have laid out their projections. One site projected the picks for the entire seven rounds of the draft.
 
Not everyone is so big into football (for example, me). Some of us are fanatics about basketball, golf, gardening, cooking, etc. Everyone, it seems, has something that drives them. "I Live For..." is a bumper sticker that has been produced in many flavors.
 
We're not here to condemn football or any other type of hobby or pursuit. We're here to ask, "Does the Lord get this type of enthusiasm?"
 
"Delight yourself also in the Lord," advised David in Psalm 37:4, "and he shall give you the desires of your heart" (NKJV). I've heard my brethren talk about activities in which they've delighted: the big game they attended, the race or the fishing trip.
 
Rarely do I hear that kind of enthusiasm for worship, Bible study, prayer time or opportunities for service.
 
What does Christ want? Paul told us: "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for himself his own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14).
 
I mention this point because I've been directed to do so: "Speak these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you" (Titus 2:15).
 
"Zealous" is a word that describes how folks feel about a lot of activities. Unfortunately, doing good works is not in the top ten list of things over which Christians get excited (based on this preacher's unscientific observations). Yes, there are exceptions. But they are exceptions, not the rule.
 
Crowds turn out for the big ball game. Hordes show up at the advertised sale at the mall. Events for religious edification typically draw sparse attendance. What does this say about our values?
 
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).
 
Tim Hall
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Aristotle Onassis - who was Aristotle Onassis

 
"The more you own, the more you know you don't own."

Aristotle Onassis, 20th century Greek shipping magnate (1906-1975)

The prophet Jonah

The prophet Jonah beautifully described our God when he said "for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm" (Jonah 4:2b). Jonah was speaking of the fact that God so graciously forgave the Ninivites though they had for so long lived in a way contrary to His will. God gave them time and warnings so that He would not have to destroy them; when then did repent, God relented from the harm He was going to bring upon them. Though Jonah was angry that God was so slow to anger, we know that we all benefit greatly from this trait of God. We (who are in the body of Christ) are thankful that God was slow to anger towards us. We are thankful that he gave us time to repent of our sins and to turn to him. We are thankful that God was slow to anger towards are friends and family members who are now in the body of Christ. We are saddened that so many loved ones still live lives contrary to our God's will, but we are thankful that God is giving them time to repent. Will they? We do not know, but what we do know is that many will be separated from God eternally because of their sins.  However, this will not be our God's fault because he is slow to anger toward everyone. If anyone spends their eternity separated from God it is because they did not take advantage of our God's slowness of anger. Let us never forget how blessed we are to serve are God that is so patient and slow to anger towards us.


Garrett Bookout
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

God is good, but never dance in a small boat

 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

David Livingstone

"I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward."

David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer
(1813-1874)

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bram Stoker

"How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams."

Bram Stoker, Irish novelist best known for his 1897 Gothic novel,
Dracula (1847-1912)
 

http://www.shvoong.com

http://www.shvoong.com is a COOL site!  Check out the main page; I just uploaded my first post with the "abible" user name - http://www.shvoong.com/writers/abible/

 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Delbert E. Hahn

            

                            "Let us open the gates of the Lord. Let us remember,

                            none of us lives only unto himself." (Chaplain's words)

I happened across a news story the other day that both saddened me and, at the same time, gladdened me. I know that sounds a little confusing but, I'm going to relate it to you in a moment and you can decide how it affects you. I'd say further, that it falls into the "inspirational" category of stories.

The words shown above were said by a Chaplain at a funeral service a few days ago in the state of Florida. After reading what he said and the accompanying article I felt that there just might be a lesson for us to look at based on them. I think that we can perhaps see a lesson on the "callousness of others" and at the same time, see a lesson on the "care of others." But first, let me tell you the little story, the news article that brought about the Chaplain's statement.

On the afternoon of Dec. 16th, 2009, a couple of teenagers, a boy of 19 and his girlfriend, 18, led a funeral procession into the Florida National Cemetery. In this procession, besides the boy and girl, were two local Police Officers, 3 officials from the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs and the Chaplain. Waiting at the grave site was two rows of National Guard Soldiers. I should also mention that the 19 year old boy was also dressed in his National Guard uniform for the service.

It is in the story leading up to this funeral service that we see the two aforementioned sides of our lesson. Back in the latter part of November, 2009, the boy and his girlfriend were told about a large pile of trash nearby and that there had been some fishing gear found in it. They went there hoping to find out if there were anymore "treasures" in the pile. What they found in the trash pile is what eventually brought them to the National Cemetery and the service there.

While looking through the trash pile they saw a worn-looking green folder and upon opening it, found that it contained some retirement papers from the U.S. Army for a man named Delbert E. Hahn. It also contained a Citation for a Purple Heart, awarded to Hahn in 1945 and a Certificate for a Bronze Star medal awarded in June of 1944 at Normandy, France.

The teenagers wondered why someone would throw something like this away. They also wondered who Delbert E. Hahn was and, upon returning home, they conducted a computer search and found nothing. The next day they returned to the trash pile and searched a little more thoroughly. This is when they found a small metal box with an urn containing human ashes. The name Delbert E. Hahn was written on the bottom of the urn.

Upon finding this urn of ashes, the boy made a statement that speaks to the "callousness" part of our lesson. He said, "This shouldn't be here. No one should be thrown away like that." I have trouble picturing the heartless and unfeeling attitude that would have to be present in a person to allow them to just dispose of another person's remains, along with the documentation record of their life. I suppose that the only way we can understand this attitude is to recall how Paul described "unrighteous" individuals in Rom. 1:31: "without understanding - without natural affection and unmerciful." In considering those words, I would think that all Christians should have the same "picturing" problem as I do.

But, the trash pile search did not end with the finding of Delbert's urn, a little more searching turned up two more urns of ashes. The young couple took the three urns and the documents to the local police station and turned them in. A Corporal there, also a military veteran, upon hearing the story and seeing the evidence, said, "I had 3 uncles in WW2. That was the greatest generation. If it wasn't for those men, we would have nothing. And someone just dumped him there? He deserves a better ending."

Further investigation involved contacting the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs and the following information was obtained: Delbert E. Hahn was, in fact, a highly decorated hero having been awarded 5 (yes "five") Bronze Stars and 2 Purple Hearts. He had died in 1963. The second urn of ashes was determined to be those of his wife, Barbara Hahn, who passed away in 2003. The third urn was believed to be the ashes of Mrs. Hahn's mother, but not able to be proven.

Well, how did they come to be "thrown away" in a pile of trash? The news article went on to say that after Mrs. Hahn's mother died, a couple came to live with her and took care of her in her final years. Upon her death, they inherited her mobile home. They did not make the payments and it was subsequently foreclosed on. The bank simply hired a maintenance company to clear it out and in doing so, just threw everything out into a lot next to the house. Thus the trash pile.

As stated at the beginning, I was moved in two different directions by this article. On the one hand, at the callous and insensitive attitude of those who seemed to be "without natural affection" and just "threw away" Delbert and Barbara Hahn. But then, I was moved by the compassion and care shown by the young couple who exhibited "tender mercies" towards someone they did not know, had never met. I don't know anything personal about this young couple, but I do know this - they exemplified one of the traits of Christianity outlined by Jesus when He said, "Blessed are the merciful..." (Matt. 5:7)

Let's take one last look at the words of the Chaplain at the funeral service for Delbert and Barbara Hahn and "remember, no one lives only unto himself." That statement is a direct reference to Romans 14:7 where it reads: "For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself." As we live in this world, everyone of us effects others. Don't you think it behooves us to effect others in the way that our two teenagers did in that story, rather than effecting people the way the callous and unmerciful ones did? For me, I'll choose the positive effect every time.

One last lesson thought before we close, relative to the comment made by the 19 year old boy. If we ever get to the place in our lives where we cease to care about others. Where we, figuratively speaking, "throw another soul away." Long before that point we will have ceased to be a Christian. And, if we were to remain in that condition, God will "throw" us into the trash pile called Hell!

Ron Covey

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

This do in remembrance of Me

 

Because today is the 18th of April I've chosen to talk some about the topic of "memorials." If you're wondering why this date has any bearing on my subject matter, I am going to relate a story to you that will show you the tie in. I'd like to refresh your memory first about just what a "memorial" is and the purpose it serves.

It is exactly what I just said: something that "refreshes your memory." That causes one to remember something special. A particular person, or an event that should not be forgotten. And, since God made us, He knows just how fallible our minds and memories are and because of that He ordered many "memorials" into being and we'll take a quick look at some of them in a moment. Just keep in mind that a "memorial" means a "commemoration", a "record" or a "reminder." And both the Hebrew and the Greek words in the Bible have that meaning.

Ok, back to why this particular date has a special relation to our lesson today - here's how: On this date in 1942 a memorable event took place. There's probably very few of my readers who might recall this event when it happened, but most everyone certainly knows about it. In the early morning hours of this date, 80 men, a great example of America's "Greatest Generation," took off in their B-25 bombers from the carrier Hornet, being led by Col. Jimmy Dolittle, and proceeded to bomb Tokyo, Japan. And recall, this was only about 4 months after Pearl Harbor.

All of them knew that this was a one-way mission. They could not return to the carrier, they just had to drop their bombs and continue on to China and if everything was perfect, they might make it. They did bomb Tokyo, but everything wasn't perfect. Just about all of the planes either crash-landed or they bailed out of them and they crashed. If I remember right, one landed in Korea and the crew became prisoners.

Three members of this group were killed in the crash of their airplane, three were captured and executed by the Japanese and one died in a prison camp. All of them were injured, some severely, and all suffered in various ways. Mostly from inhumane treatment as prisoners.

Now here is "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say: since the end of the war, every year on this date, the surviving members of this group hold a reunion somewhere in the U.S. At a certain point of the reunion, they gather in one room, no one else is allowed to be there, and they "call the roll." When the name of a "departed" member is called, the ranking member of that crew will answer "HERE." Because the memory of that person is still with them. They will not forget them.

Yes, we need "memorials," don't we? We need something to remind us of what others have sacrificed that we can be here today. I once read a quotation about those WW2 veterans that did not survive the war that speaks very eloquently to my thoughts here. It simply read: "They gave their tomorrow's for our today's." If we did not have the "memorials" I'm quite sure that, after two or three generations, we'd have forgotten all about them. That's a sad commentary on man's remembrance abilities, isn't it?

But, this fallibility of man isn't anything of a recent nature. Oh no, when we look at Exo. 3:13 we see a surprising thing. Moses tells God that Israel has forgotten who God is. Doesn't even remember His name. God told Moses to go back and tell them that I am the "Lord God" of their fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. Then He says My name is a "memorial" to be remembered "forever." He is reminding them that He is eternal and not to be forgotten. (Vs. 15)

Then in Exo. 30:16 we read about the law regarding the offering of "atonement." This was to occur every year and part of the ceremony was that a certain amount of money was to be given by everyone over the age of 20 years and it was to be used for the temple/tabernacle expenses. In giving this law, God said that this money was to serve as a "memorial" for Israel to remind them of their dependence upon God for the atonement of their sins. Or, as He otherwise said, "a ransom for their souls."

There are many other things designated in the scriptures as "memorials" with all of them serving to commemorate a miraculous event or something that God wanted them to always be reminded of. Such as the 12 rocks Joshua was told to erect at the site of the crossing of the Jordan River when they actually entered Canaan. Israel was directed to make "memorials" for numerous things, all of which were designed to counteract the forgetfulness of man.

When we look at these past examples left for us to study and thereby understand that God, knowing man's propensity to forget things, set "memorials" so that we don't forget. That is, if we keep the "memorials" as directed. Doesn't it make total sense why we are instructed to "commemorate" the death, burial and resurrection of Christ every first day of the week.

We know that when man doesn't keep "memorials," it's not long before the "record," the cause for the "remembrance," is gone from our memory. And here is the sad conclusion when that happens - the significance of the event is lost. It ceases to have any meaning to anyone. Whatever occurred at the event would have been done in vain.

Without adherence to the "memorial" of the Lord's Supper, which we observe every Sunday, the one in which Christ said, "This do in remembrance of Me" I fear that we'd soon be "treating the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy." (Heb. 10:29 NLT) Well, I guess that I do more than "fear" that would happen, I'll just go right out on a limb here and say for a fact - that is exactly what would happen.

When Israel, under the law of Moses, was to contribute some money during the "atonement offering" as a "memorial" to remind them of what they owed God, wouldn't you say that the same principle is involved when we're told to "commemorate" the sacrifice of His Son? So that we're never to forget what we "owe God?" That's the way I see it.

Ron Covey

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Truth or Consequences

 

 

 

The title of this week's "pen" might conjure up a variety of thoughts, depending upon the individual.  Most of us would think of the popular quiz show that aired from the early 50's until the early 80's.  Guests on the show had to answer some crazy question (give the "truth" of the matter) and if answered wrong or not in time, the contestant would have to suffer the "consequences" of their mistake; hence the title of the program.   One popular feature of the program was the emotional reunion of the contestant with some long-lost relative, or a son or daughter who was returning from military duty overseas, at that time Viet Nam.  Perhaps that one item endeared the program to the millions of Americans who tuned in each week to enjoy the program.

 

On the other hand, a person living in New Mexico might immediately think of the city, "Truth or Consequences."  Originally named "Hot Springs," the city changed its name in 1950 as the result of a challenge from Ralph Edwards who hosted the popular show by the same title.  Edwards had promised to air the popular radio program from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs, NM won the honor. 

 

Occasionally I remember that old TV program and the enjoyment derived from watching the zany antics of host and contestant like.  Like other programs on television, "Truth or Consequences" was designed to entertain, not mold the thinking of its audience.  All such programs are now but a fading memory of an era in our nation when the "baby boomers" were growing up, and when life itself was simple and religion was a basic part of our nation's fabric.  Today, much of the programming on television is designed to change the thinking and behavior of its audience, and most of it not for the better.   Since the "sexual revolution" of the 1960's the subject matter of television (and movies) has gradually denigrated to the point where little is fit to watch, and most programs should be stringently avoided by the child of God.   Were it not for syndication, few would have any idea of what television was like in the 1950's and early 60's.  Programs such as "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "The Lone Ranger," to name but a few, have, like Randolph Scott and Gene Autry, ridden off into the sunset of a bygone era.   This brings me to my last observation.

 

"Truth or Consequences" would make a great sermon title for a lesson (or a series of lessons) on responsibility.  Unfortunately, "Truth" is viewed by this generation as an elusive dream, non-existent, and incapable of being truly known.   Politicians seem incapable of distinguishing between truth and error.  But the child of God knows that it is truth that sets us free, and that such truth is both absolute and attainable (John 8:32).   At the same time, the "consequences" associated with that truth are eternal, and will affect each and every man, woman and child, regardless of whether or not they lived in, or even knew about that small city in New Mexico. 

 

When time gives way to eternity, and this world is burned to a cinder, it will be of no consequence whether or not you lived in the city of Truth Or Consequence, or whether or not you ever had the opportunity to enjoy the antics of the television program.  The only thing that will matter then is whether or not you loved and obeyed the truth.   If that truth be ignored, neglected, or rejected, all that will remain to haunt the lost soul throughout eternity will be the consequences of that neglect and indifference -  and that, my friend, is a sobering thought indeed!

 

by Tom Wacaster

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Friday, April 16, 2010

California Highway Patrol Officer Shaun Bouyea

On Sunday night, April 11, 2010, James and Janet Hogan and their 40-year-old son, Tim, were traveling in a vehicle in Walnut Creek , California , when they lost control of their vehicle on a rain-soaked road, went through a fence, and landed in the rushing waters of a creek.  An emergency crew later found Tim's lifeless body trapped in the car.  His parents had somehow gotten out of the vehicle but were uncontrollably swept downstream.

California Highway Patrol Officer Shaun Bouyea responded to the crash in a rescue helicopter.  He was called to where Janet had been spotted bobbing up and down in the choppy current, three miles from the crash site.  When Janet could not grab hold 
of a clinch collar device that he had lowered to her from the helicopter, Bouyea signaled to Contra Costa Fire District rescue swimmer, Dave Manzeck, and lowered 
the collar to him.

As Bouyea lowered Manzeck to the raging waters where Janet was floundering, Manzeck later reported that he saw her disappear underwater for 15 to 20 seconds.
"She was about to die if somebody didn't get her," Bouyea later said.

After initially being blown under the water himself by a downdraft, Manzeck was finally able to grab hold of Janet, who was unconscious.  Both of them were pulled from the water and lowered to paramedics waiting on the shore.  Janet was revived by the paramedics and taken to the local hospital.  Manzeck was also admitted to the hospital, in a room three doors down from Janet, due to injuries he sustained in the successful rescue attempt.

Janet Hogan unfortunately lost her son and her husband (whose lifeless body was found last Wednesday night), but she was rescued from the raging waters through 
the heroic efforts of Bouyea, Manzeck, and a team of rescue workers.

Her rescue reminds us of another critical rescue mission that involves YOU and ME…

Due to OUR wrong choices – SIN – WE are being swept downstream to certain destruction (Romans 6:23).  But God loves us so much that He sent His Son to our rescue.  In order to save us from the depths of sin's punishment, Jesus was not only injured, but gave His life as payment for our sins (Ephesians 1:7).  Because HE died on our behalf, WE can be saved IF we will accept His offer of salvation.

We accept Jesus' offer of salvation by: placing our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).

"I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore.
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more.
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me!"
(James Rowe)

Jesus will save you from the raging waters of destruction, if you will take His hand in trusting obedience.

Won't YOU?

David A. Sargent,



First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

a life of pain and persecution


I do not believe that anyone would look at the life of the apostle Paul and say it was a life of comfort. Rather, it is pretty easy to see that he constantly was in a state of unease. He said of himself, "I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 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 -  besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches" (II Corinthians 23b-28). Certainly, Paul had many obstacles going against him. However, he said something to the Thessalonians that is very interesting. He wrote, "Therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord" (I Thessalonians 3:7, 8). In a life of pain and persecution, Paul said that the faithfulness of the Thessalonians brought him comfort. The truth is that the way we live greatly affects those around us. When our loved ones turn away from God, we suffer and worry. When our loved ones are faithful, we rejoice and celebrate. There are a lot of reasons to remain faithful to the Lord, but one of great importance is that through your faithfulness you comfort your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us comfort one another
 
Garrett Bookout
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

"Three best to have in plenty - sunshine, wisdom and generosity."


 
First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What are men like?

Because I'm a guy, I must hold the television remote control in my hand
while I watch TV. If the thing has been misplaced, I'll miss a whole show
looking for it, though one time I was able to survive by holding a
calculator.

Because I'm a guy, when I lock my keys in the car I will fiddle with a
wire clothes hanger and ignore your suggestions that we call a road service
until long after hypothermia has set in. Oh, and when the car isn't running
very well, I will pop the hood and stare at the engine as if I know what I'm
looking at. If another guy shows up, one of us will say to the other, "I
used to be able to fix these things, but now with all these computers and
everything, I wouldn't know where to start."

Because I'm a guy, when I catch a cold I need someone to bring me soup
and take care of me while I lie in bed and moan. You never get as sick as I
do, so for you this isn't an issue.

Because I'm a guy, I can be relied upon to purchase basic groceries at
the store, like milk, or bread. I cannot be expected to find exotic items
like "Cumin" or "Tofu." For all I know these are the same thing.

Because I'm a guy, when one of our appliances stops working I will
insist on taking it apart, despite evidence that this will just cost me
twice as much once the repair person gets here and has to put it back
together.

Because I'm a guy, I don't think we're all that lost, and no, I don't
think we should stop and ask someone. Why would you listen to a complete
stranger -- how in the world could HE know where we're going?

Because I'm a guy, whatever you got your mother for Mother's Day is ok,
I don't need to see it. Did you remember to pick up something for my mom,
too?

Because I'm a guy, you don't have to ask me if I liked the movie.
Chances are, if you're crying at the end of it, I didn't.

Because I'm a guy, I think what you're wearing is fine. I thought what
you were wearing five minutes ago was fine, too. Either pair of shoes is
fine. With the belt or without it looks fine. Your hair is fine. You look
fine. Can we just go now?

Because I'm a guy and this is, after all, the 21st century, I will
share equally in the housework. You do the laundry, the cooking, the
cleaning, and the dishes. I'll do the rest.

It does seem that a lot of behavior on the part of men can be explained
with the simple phrase "it's because I'm a guy -- that says it all".

Likewise, a lot of the behavior we as Christians exhibit in the
workplace, at home, or at school, should be explainable by the phrase, "it's
because I'm a child of God". That says it all -- that's why I do what I do
and say what I say.

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called
you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but
are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained
mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

When people wonder about our actions, they should be able to look at
our lives and say, "Oh yes, he acts that way because he's a Christian."
Whether they appreciate it or not, may they see that Christ truly does make
a difference in the way we live.

Alan Smith

fill out your 1040 Income Tax


Surely the title of this essay didn't startle you?!  If so, you may
need to do some scrambling to either fill out your 1040 Income Tax
forms, or find the form to file for an extension.  Most of us have
seen this day coming and groan each year as the day approaches.

The subject of paying taxes is never a popular one, but as Benjamin
Franklin wrote decades ago, the only certainties in life are death and
paying taxes.  We typically view the concept in a negative light,
feeling that taxes are too high.  We may resentfully point to another
tax day that just passed - "tax freedom day".  That's the date on
which the burden of taxation can be said to have been paid off.  In
2010 that date was April 9, meaning that the tax rate on the nation's
income is 26.9%.

There are positive ways to view taxes, however, and we should pursue
that line of thought now and then.  How is it possible, after all,
that there are streets and highways upon which we can drive our
vehicles?  Why is it that there are firefighters and police officers
who will quickly show up when called?  Most of us enjoy trash
collection services; how does that happen, and why are there landfills
where trash can be stored without seriously damaging the environment?

All of those scenarios have one thing in common: They're activities
made possible by taxes paid by the citizens.  True, not everyone
agrees with all the ways taxes have been put to use.  But would anyone
affirm that our communities would be better off without this way of
funding activities for the common good?

Two millennia ago people did not enjoy paying taxes.  Jesus was
questioned about His views on whether or not it was "lawful to pay
taxes to Caesar" (Matthew 22:17).  The ones who asked that thought
they had Jesus on the horns of a dilemma.  If Jesus said "No", He
would be in trouble with the Roman authorities.  If He said "Yes", He
would fall out of favor with the people.  They thought they had Jesus
trapped.

The Lord's answer was brilliant.  After the adversaries admitted that
Caesar's image was stamped onto the coins they used Jesus said,
"Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God
the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21).  The answer caused all to
marvel.

A few years later the apostle Paul would teach the same truth: "Let
every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no
authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are
appointed by God" (Romans 13:1).  Paul did not mean that every human
ruler always acts just as they should.  But the office of the ruler
should be approached with respect and submission.

Peter also taught Christians to "submit yourselves to every ordinance
of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to
governors ... for this is the will of God, that by doing good you may
put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:13-15).

No, we don't enjoy paying taxes.  But we do enjoy the benefits of
living in an orderly society.  Not every action of the government will
be wise or right.  But those who heed the apostles' doctrine will
submit without grumbling.

Timothy D. Hall.

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Benjamin Franklin

"Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments."

Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father (1706-1790

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nicolas Chamfort

"Pleasure can be supported by an illusion; but happiness rests upon truth."

Nicolas Chamfort ,French playwright (1741-1794)

First Corinthians commentary:  Get the new First Corinthians commentary from www.abiblecommentary.com.  Preview the First Corinthians commentary through Google books at http://bit.ly/dfw86d.  Other Bible commentary material from www.abiblecommentary.com includes a FREE on-line Romans commentary:  http://bit.ly/3MRU5I  
 

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