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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Cards

CHRISTMAS CARDS

Christmas Cards, "Bah Humbug," some say. They cost too much, no one really
reads them anyway. It's too expensive and takes too much time to send them."

Some may say those things, but not at our house, at our house we love
Christmas cards. We love receiving them and love sending them. Granted in
the present economic situation in our society we don't mail as many as we
once did. But still they are an important part of our lives. Many of us have
been forced to send an "electronic" greeting now, which is a great avenue of
staying in touch, but I still cherish the old fashion paper cards also.

Each card, each letter, each greeting, (electronic or otherwise), has a
message of hope, a message of love, they share precious thoughts and
insights about our relationships. We love to get the Christmas letters that
often come with the cards, because the truth of the matter is that far too
often we just don't stay in touch with those we really care about. We mean
to do better, we mean to call, write or visit, but as they say, "life
interferes" with our plans.

Christmas cards may be the only time in the year that you communicate with
someone you really do care about in your life. We are separated by years and
miles from many of our dear friends. People that we love and truly cherish,
but some we have not seen for years. People who have touched our lives and
helped make us who we are today.

Christmas cards remind us that there is a bond of love and friendship
through Christ that can never be parted. As long as we put Him first in our
lives we will touch and be touched by others.

We have some old friends that taught us a lesson about Christmas cards years
ago while living in Africa. They kept their Christmas cards on the dinning
room table and each day when they asked God to bless their food they also
chose one card and ask God to bless those people that day also.

Many of you have been a light to our paths in this life fulfilling Jesus'
Words in Matthew 5:14-15, "You are the light of the world, like a city on a
hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a
basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to
everyone in the house."

So in this electronic age my wife and I wish each of you a "Merry Christmas
and a very Happy New Year". And, May God Bless us Everyone.

Russ Lawson

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Things people want in a church

What Are You Looking For?

 

Many people are looking for a “new church home.”  Perhaps they have recently moved to different community. Perhaps they feel a desire to make religion a part of their lives, either for the first time or a renewal of earlier interest. Having children sometimes prompts parents to seek spiritual training for their family. Often, people are looking for a new church because they are dissatisfied with their old one.

Whatever the motive, people are looking for a new church. But what kind of church? What are they looking for? What are you looking for?

-    Some are looking for a traditional church, just like the one they left behind or the one they grew up in.

-    Some are looking for an innovative church, one completely different from anything they have ever experienced.

-    Some are looking for a convenient church, one which is located nearby that will minimize their travel time.

-    Some are looking for a friendly church, one that will quickly welcome them and make them feel special.

-    Some are looking for a large church, where they can get lost in the crowd.

-    Some are looking for a small church, where they can get to know everyone well, or in some cases where they can be more prominent and exert more influence.

-    Some are looking for an exciting church, one with emotionally stirring assemblies.

-    Some are looking for an entertaining church, where the music is like a concert and the preacher is part comedian.

-    Some are looking for a tolerant church, where no one will rebuke them if they (or a family member) live a sinful lifestyle.

-    Some are looking for a providing church, one with all kinds of programs and services such as day care, schools, recreational outings, exercise classes, etc.

-    Some are looking for an elite church, where they will be able to make a name for themselves or make some good business contacts by mixing with the upper class.

Something’s missing here, isn’t it? What we ought to be seeking is a truthful church, one that follows the New Testament pattern, upholds God’s revealed truth (1 Timothy 3:15), and keeps the emphasis where He put it: on man’s spiritual needs.

What we are looking for in a church says a lot about us. Honestly, are we trying to please God or ourselves?

- by Frank Himmel

_______________________________________________

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shooting Ferguson Missouri

Selected Concern

 

When a Ferguson, Missouri policeman recently shot a man who reportedly had assaulted him but was unarmed, the incident grabbed widespread attention.  The national press made it the lead story for several days. Citizens rioted. Social activists came and made bold speeches. President Obama made a public statement about it. Attorney General Holder sent a team of investigators and promised the full resources of the federal government, then made a personal visit.

Meanwhile, just 300 miles to the north, the city of Chicago has averaged more than a murder a day this year, including one on August 20 when a nine-year-old boy was shot while playing in his yard. His story was barely a blip on the national radar.

Why is there so much more interest in and concern about one killing than another? Reasons vary. You decide in this case. What I would like us to think about is the concept of selective concern as it relates to our own lives. Are we more concerned about some applications or violations of God’s law than others?

Take honesty, for example. I have known a few brethren who from all appearances were quite honest when it came to financial matters, yet they seemingly thought little of misrepresenting others’ statements or positions. Is that any less dishonest?

Israel’s wilderness experiences taught them that God was outraged at their idolatry, fornication, and open rebellion, but no more so than He was at their frequent complaining. How many of us would put complaining and idolatry on equal footing?

In the church, some would be appalled at the suggestion to bring in instrumental music, yet they seldom sing. When it comes time to appoint elders, some meticulously examine a potential appointee in regard to the family qualifications, then turn around and minimize a character or ability requirement.

Are we as concerned about positively doing right as leaving off wrong? Or vice versa?

Jesus’ story of the lost brothers in Luke 15 illustrates the problem. The younger son was lost through bad conduct. His older brother wouldn’t have dreamed of engaging in such immorality, yet he was eaten up with self-righteousness and bitterness. Although he did not see it, his bad attitude made him just as lost.

Consistency is always a challenge. So is honest self-evaluation.  Nevertheless, we must do our best.  Remember God’s charge: “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you” (Jeremiah 7:23).

- by Frank Himmel

 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What does it mean to suffer for Jesus?

What does it mean to partake in the sufferings of Christ?

 

This question is answered with the free Bible study located at this link (pdf file on the sufferings of Christ).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

No man today would depart from the plain word of God if he had full confidence in God

Lack Of Confidence...The Besetting Sin

The besetting sin of the human family is a lack of confidence in God, manifested in every kind of departure from the word of God. If our confidence in God were what it should be, we would never want to turn aside from his way.

Eve lacked confidence in God, and so she followed the devil; Adam lacked confidence in God, and so he followed his wife. Why did Abel do what God said and why did not Cain do what God said? Abel had confidence enough in God to follow his commands; Cain did not.

No man today would depart from the plain word of God if he had full confidence in God; and the elders of Israel would not have asked for a king, had they not lacked confidence in God's way.

 - by  R. L. Whiteside

 

Can God Count On Me?

Can God Count On You?

Do you love God? How much? Are you willing to be fully committed to him in every way? Is there anything you would not do for God (Mark 12:29-30)? We live in a world that is constantly at war, at war with sin (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Whose side are you on?

Can God count on you to increase your knowledge of his word so you can defend it against false teachers and their disciples? "You must continue growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). God wants us to go beyond a state of spiritual infancy and advance to maturity (Hebrews 5:11-14). We do this when we pray, study, and apply the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). Will you resolve to study the Scriptures on a daily basis?

Can God count on you to defend the truth against every foe? Too many people will defend the gospel if someone they do not like is perverting it. But, if one of their friends perverts God's word, they tend to be very tolerant, or they will make excuses for them. When truth is at stake, we should have no friends except God. Do you find yourself wetting a finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing before you take a stand on a controversial issue? The Bible says stand (Ephesians 6:13-14; Jude 3)!

Can God count on you to take an active role in the work and worship of the local congregation? God has not placed the responsibility for building up the local congregation on the shoulders of only one person. The evangelist's role is to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:1-5); the elders oversee (Acts 20:17, 28-32); the deacons serve (Acts 6:1-6), and everybody is to work!  In short, everybody's must work if we are going to grow.

Can God count on you to be uncompromising in the fight against sin, shame, and immorality? When people in the work place laugh at homosexuality, unscriptural multiple marriages, the use of alcohol and drugs among the nation's youth, teen pregnancy out of wedlock, do you go with the flow or do you plead God's case (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:9-21)? If God can count on you, prove it!

- by Ron Daly

 

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