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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How's Your Heart?


Doctors are pretty big on heart health.

Advertisers are pretty big on heart health, too.

You need your heart to live, so it's natural to be concerned about it. Heart health really does affect everything you do.

If your heart's bad, your activity is limited...

And if your heart stops, your activity stops. You die.



But how's your heart, spiritually speaking?

Proverbs 4:23 says "Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life." (NKJV)

Your heart affects everything in your life. Keep it pure, and you'll enjoy the benefits. Pollute it and you'll pervert and complicate your path.

What condition is your heart in? If you don't know, give it a "check up" by comparing your thoughts and deeds to what the Bible teaches.

I hope you're having a great week!
John Allan

Evil company corrupts good habits

Are My Friends A Blessing?
 
A strong warning is given in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”  Those with whom we surround ourselves will impact the kind of people we are.  Some friends are a blessing, others can be a curse.  Who should I choose as a friend?   What does the Bible say? 
 
Psalm 1:1 says a blessed man will make some choices:

“Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,” When our advisors are those who do not respect God, we set a course for disaster.

“Nor stands in the path of sinners,” People who transgress the commands of God, will encourage you to be like them.

“Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”  Those who are cruel and oppressive to others, will influence us to take on those same ways.
 
There is a very deceptive nature of peer pressure.  We don’t always see the influence that others have on us.  Notice in the passage above that first we walk, then stand, then sit down with those who are evil.  We can become comfortable with things that should shock us.
 
Choose your companions carefully.  Real friends help you to please God.  We would love to be your true friend and teach you God’s way.

- by Paul Adams

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Attitudes in Bible Study

The right motive is essential to profitable Bible study.  We must desire to learn the truth that makes us free (John 8:31-32), to attain the wisdom that leads to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).

The right motive is just one aspect of the right attitude in Bible study, however. Consider three other essential components.
 
Open Mind
Jesus said of some students in His day, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive” (Matthew 13:14, ESV). Their problem was closed minds which made them unteachable. We must not be afraid to admit that we are ignorant or to learn that what we have thought is wrong. We must be willing to accept the truth, along with the changes it requires us to make.
 
Willingness to Work 
Have you ever said about someone, “I wish I knew the Bible as well as he or she did”? Well, there was probably a time when that person said the same thing about someone else. Then, he started to work. The Bible contains 66 books, 1,189 chapters, over 31,000 verses, or about 800,000 words. Obviously, no one will master all that in a few sessions! It takes work — consistent effort over a long period of time. In fact, even the best Bible students are constantly learning throughout their lives.

The point is, you won’t get much out of Bible study if you don’t put much into it. A hit-and-miss approach yields little. (You can’t learn much about history or science or mathematics or anything else that way, either.)  To thoroughly learn the Bible you have to invest some time and effort. The noble-minded Bereans “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). The blessed man meditates on what he reads (Psalm 1:2).
 
Expectation of Success
While learning the Bible might seem overwhelming at the beginning, when we break it down into segments and approach it in a systematic way, it is really not so difficult at all.

To be sure there are some challenging parts; the Bible says so (2 Peter 3:16). Nevertheless, it promises us that we can understand it (Ephesians 3:4). God commands us to know His will (Ephesians 5:17), and He does not require the impossible. You can learn! Why not get started today?

- by Frank Himmel

 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love or Legalism?

When we insist men must adhere strictly to the commandments of God, is it love or legalism?

Men say it is legalism. They say, "We should obey a Savior, not a system." Or, "Give me the man, not a plan." Their idea is that to admit the existence of a law by which man must live in order to be right with God, is legalism.

God, however, calls this love. The Spirit said, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:3). Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Keeping the commandments of God is an expression of love, not legalism. To insist others do the same is love for God and man, not legalism in a system or plan.

The Holy Spirit was sent to reveal all truth (John 16:13). Why would anyone think the truth was revealed so men could be cavalier toward it? It was revealed so men could obey it and be set free (John 8:32). Paul wrote, "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered" (Romans 6:17). This does not destroy a relationship with the Savior, for it is His system -- the gospel (Hebrews 5:9).

- by Steven F. Deaton

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Straight Talk, Dr. James Dobson

Passing the Baton

In his book Straight Talk, Dr. James Dobson wrote:

"According to the Christian values which govern my life, my most important reason for living is to get the baton — the gospel — safely in the hands of my children. Of course, I want to place it in as many other hands as possible, and I'm deeply devoted to the ministry . . . Nevertheless, my number one responsibility is to evangelize my own children. In the words of my dad, everything else appears 'pale and washed out' when compared with that fervent desire. Unless my son and daughter grasp the faith and take it with them around the track, it matters little how fast they run. Being first across the finish line is meaningless unless they carry the baton with them."

"This mission of introducing one's children to the Christian faith can be likened to a three-man relay race. First, your father runs his lap around the track, carrying the baton, which represents the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the appropriate moment, he hands the baton to you, and you begin your journey around the track. Then finally, the time will come when you must get the baton safely in the hands of your child. But as any track coach will testify, relay races are won or lost in the transfer of the baton. There is a critical moment when all can be lost by a fumble or miscalculation. The baton is rarely dropped on the back side of the track when the runner has it firmly in his grasp. If failure is to occur, it will likely happen in the exchange between generations!”

What are we as parents doing to be sure we place the baton of the gospel firmly in the hands of our children? We — especially fathers — are commanded to "bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). We need to all be like Abraham, whom God said would "command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice" (Genesis 18:19). Are we bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? Are we doing what we should to teach them to keep His way?  As Moses stressed to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, it takes much of our time to pass the baton to our children; yet we allow ourselves to be pulled in so many different directions that it is easy to not dedicate the time required.

Are you running your race in such a way as to be able to one day say with Paul, "I have finished the race" (2 Timothy 4:7), to actually win the race (1 Corinthians 9:24)? How much joy can we truly achieve from the race without successfully passing the baton to our children, knowing that we failed to place it firmly within their hands? Just as physical runners put forth the time and effort needed to make a successful pass and win the race, only to receive a temporal crown, may we put for the time and effort needed to successfully pass the baton to our children, and receive an eternal crown.

- by Troy Nicholson

 

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