Friday, August 31, 2018
The world has lost another good man. His name was Warren Cornelius. He lived 96 years on this
planet, and he filled those 96 years with lots of love, hunting, fishing, and storytelling. He was
one of the best storytellers, ever.
Warren lost the love of his life 10 years ago. Her name was Dorothy. They were married for 65
Warren had a way of "enhancing" or "embellishing" his stories to really make them captivating to his
hearers. He used vivid details as he told his stories about hunting, fishing, or interacting with
other people. But there is one story about Warren that needs no embellishment to make it more
interesting, because it's true and it demonstrates true love.
Warren's loving wife, Dot (as he called her), had Alzheimer's disease in the last years of her life.
For as long as he could, Warren kept his dear wife at home and cared for her. When it got to the
point when he couldn't, he painfully took her to live in an assisted living facility that was
equipped to take better care of her needs. But Warren didn't stop caring for her. He went to see
Dot every day, three times a day. He would go at meal times to feed her when she got to the point
where she couldn't feed herself.
As the disease progressed, Dot lost her memory. She even lost her ability to recognize her loving
husband. That didn't stop Warren. He said, "She may not know who I am, but I know who she is."
And he kept going, he kept caring, he kept helping, until she passed away.
That love and devotion that Warren displayed reflects the love of the God that he sought to serve.
"Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are
His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'" - 2 Timothy 2:19
"The Lord knows those who are His." He knows. and He cares.
He cares so much about you, me, and every person in the world that He gave His one and only Son to
die on the cross so that we may have the forgiveness of our sins, be added to His family, and
receive the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Acts 2:41, 47; Romans 6:23).
God will forgive and add to His family those who place their faith and trust in His Son Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans
10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin
and prepare for heaven those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
"The Lord knows those who are His." He knows you and He wants you to be a part of His forever
Won't YOU accept His offer of grace and eternal life on His terms?
-- David A. Sargent
* In loving memory of Warren I. Cornelius (February 12, 1922 - August 26, 2018). Thank you for
showing us what God's love is like.
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 2:18-28
Let’s summarize what Jesus says to the church at Thyatira:
I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. Presumably this means they have grown in their works of faith and love.
Some of you tolerate a false teacher who leads my people into sexual immorality and idolatry, and who refuses to repent. But those influenced by this false teacher must repent of this, or I will throw you onto a sickbed and even kill some of you.
Those who have not followed this false teacher must hold on to what they have – love, faith, service and patient endurance – until I come.
Keep my works until the end.
The New Testament is replete with exhortations to not depart from the faith – but to maintain their faith no matter what deceivers come along. The severest trials – even those of the Roman Empire, Revelation 13:7-18 - are no excuse for us to relax our vigilant observance of God’s truth. Here are some of them:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:12-21
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:21-23
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:18-27
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:17-20
I know you have but little power yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8
Hold on to what you have until I come, said Jesus.
Don’t add or take away from Jesus’ words, because he’s coming soon.
We know not when Jesus will come back to resurrect, judge, reward and punish, Matthew 24:36, but what we do know is that He is coming back, and when he comes back we will all be judged by His word.
“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” John 12:47-50
The revealed word of God – including the New Testament revealed in the early 1st century – never changes.
So-called prophets of God have come along since the 1st century – like Muhammed and Joseph Smith – who have wrought changes and added to what God has decreed as unchangeable and all-sufficient. They claim to have new revelations from God that were not part of the “all truth” Jesus sent to the inspired apostles in the 1st century. They claim the New Testament is not good enough, and must be updated! But Jesus sent all truth in the 1st century, which didn’t include the Book of Mormon or the Quran, and that truth remains all-sufficient for everyone till the end of time.
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:7-15.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
The New Testament is all anyone needs to save him and to train him in righteousness to be a man of God. “Continue in what you have learned.” Don’t depart from it. Don’t add to it. Don’t distort it.
Jesus said his word will never pass away, Matthew 24:35, but false teachers have the temerity to say the New
Testament has been corrupted, and God sent them to restore it to its purity or to give us an update! That is so wrong! So blasphemous! So dishonouring of God’s truth, power and faithfulness in His promises! The God who sent His word into the world has also preserved it throughout all time. Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25. Never doubt it.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
GOD’S PATTERN - AS REVEALED THROUGH PAUL:
Thus, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:37: “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.” What Paul did and what Paul taught are to be our pattern and we are to copy, imitate that very pattern.
When it comes to the name of the church - we have the inspired pattern to call ourselves: Church of Christ, Church of God, Body of Christ, House of God, and a handful of other designations.
Relative to the organization of the church - preachers are not “pastors” or “shepherds” and they have no authority in the congregation, except what is inherent in the word they teach and preach. That pattern calls for a body of elders, never just one, that shepherd and guide the church as a shepherd provides for his flock. The deacons are not decision-makers over the whole congregation, according to the NT pattern. They are servants and no higher up on the hierarchy than the preacher or Bible class teachers. They have a special role to play but their authority is only what is given to them by the elders.
According to the NT pattern, women are not to be elders, deacons, public teachers in the presence of Christian men, or lead over men in the church in any other way, which of course, would rule out women being song leaders.
Worship, according to what Paul taught his audiences - is simple and can be practiced very inexpensively and world-wide. It is worship that is concentrated on honoring God and bringing glory to Jesus Christ through intense study and meditation on the word of God, humble prayers and supplications, reminding ourselves on a weekly basis of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, singing with our hearts as expressed through our voices and giving when we assemble on Sundays so that the work of the church can be fulfilled. That’s the NT pattern. Worship is not the time to showcase our talents and skills. Worship is not about us. It is about God.
Relative to baptism… the apostles Paul and Peter are very clear when it comes to the means, mode, and purpose of baptism.
It is, first of all, baptism in water, not in the Holy Spirit, Eph. 4:5 and 5:26-27.
Secondly, since the NT pictures baptism as a burial (Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:11-12), then it must be (indeed the very word means) immersion. Sprinkling or pouring do not follow the pattern of sound words.
Third, with baptism being the culmination of a series of steps leading to salvation, then we understand that it is for people old enough to understand the nature of sin and to repent of those sins. Baptism is for the mature, not for infants.
Finally, baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). It is in order to make someone a member of Christ’s church, yes, but it is also necessary in order to be saved from one’s sins (Mark 16:16). It is how we are washed clean (Acts 22:16). Peter writes very simply, “baptism does now save us” (1 Peter 3:21).
In order to be a member of the church which the apostle Paul was a member of and to glorify and honor the Gospel which Paul taught and received from Jesus Christ, then we too must follow this very basic pattern of obeying the Gospel to be saved: Hear. Believe. Repent. Confess. Be immersed. Live faithfully and worship regularly. If we are not following that Gospel pattern, then we are not the church of Christ. We are not following the pattern laid out by Paul. We are not conforming ourselves to the pattern of sound words that Jesus revealed to Paul.
The churches of Christ seek to restore the original pattern revealed in the pages of the New Testament.
Monday, August 27, 2018
Thought for the Week
Psalm 39:1--I said, "I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence." (NASB)
What great advice this is for all men, especially for every child of God. We live in a world of words and should understand that the words we choose to use can build up or they can destroy. Words spoken can bind us closer together or they can put a great divide between us. Words spoken can change our whole way of living.
A word spoken naturally and relative to the circumstance at hand has the power to bring into someone's life a measure of encouragement that will lift their spirit. They may be words that will inspire that individual to greater heights of service to the Lord or they may be just what is needed to bring comfort and peace to a troubled soul. So much depends on the right word, spoken at the right time in the right way. Hear Solomon as he says, "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Never under estimate the power of the spoken word!
There is a world of iniquity in the tongue that is not muzzled (James 3:5-12). Often times the best policy to follow is to keep the mouth shut. I recently saw a post that said, "Just because it pops into my head does not mean it should come out of my mouth." Know this, our speech is an index of our heart so choose carefully the words that proceed from the mouth (Luke 6:45).
Words that cross our lips that are compassionate, kind, courteous, pleasant and merciful imply everything that is good, honorable, true and uplifting. These words are opposed to those that are corrupt foul language, words that are filled with deceit and lies, words of anger and hatred along with those words expressing a strong insulting expressions about others that constitute evil speaking 1 Peter 2:1-3; Ephesians 4:25-32; Psalms 34:13).
We can make life so much happier for ourselves as well as for others if we will only speak words that are always with grace and seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).
One last word of advice from Solomon: "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from trouble."
Sunday, August 26, 2018
In chapter 4, Paul uses Abraham as an illustration on the importance and the power of faith. Abraham is perhaps the most apt person for this illustration, as he is known as the father of faith! Paul uses Abraham’s example to further elaborate on his point that we cannot be saved by the works of the Old Law, since it is written that Abraham was counted righteous by his faith, and not by his works (v. 3; Genesis 15:6). Furthermore, this commendation was said of Abraham before he was circumcised, and not after (v. 10). No amount of works we do can help to clear our debt of sin. It is only by the grace of God that our sins can be removed. Hence, David wrote “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” (v.7; cf. Psalm 32:1). We are blessed because of a loving Saviour we have found in Jesus Christ!
I hope by this point in the book of Romans we have not been carried away that we can be saved by faith alone, as is taught in most denominations today. Faith cannot exist alone: faith is always accompanied by works of obedience. As James wrote, “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). It is noteworthy that James would quote from the same verse that Paul did in Romans 4, but James does so to prove that Abraham was justified by a faith that is accompanied by works!
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:21-23).
Paul later goes on to show how Abraham’s faith held strong in the promises of God, especially the promise that Abraham would have a son, and Abraham would be the father of many nations. Abraham was “hoping against hope” due to him being already 100 years old, and his wife Sarah 90 years old. Sarah’s womb, by then, was “as good as dead” (v.18-19). However, Abraham was “strong in faith,” and “fully persuaded” that God was able to deliver on His promises (v.20-21). Did God deliver? Yes! Isaac was born. Did Isaac drop out from the sky? No! Abraham and Sarah, despite their old age, worked out their faith in order to conceive Isaac. What a faith that Abraham possessed! “Therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (v.22).
God has also made promises to us Christians. God has promised us salvation and an inheritance in Heaven. However, this was impossible because we had an insurmountable debt of sin to repay! Yet, God made the impossible possible through Jesus Christ, and we can attain it through faith in Jesus (v.24-25). However, we must fully persuaded as Abraham was! However, sometimes our faith can waver, and it is obvious we are not fully persuaded, whenever we:
- Doubt God’s providence in times of suffering
- Blame God for our troubles
- Try to solve problems our way instead of God’s way
- Allow ourselves to be distracted by worldly pleasures
- Do not put in our best effort to do God’s will
Brethren, we will not receive God’s promises unless we attain it by faith! If we truly have faith in God and His promises, we must trust wholeheartedly in God even in times of trouble. Furthermore, we need to remove distractions from our lives, and exercise our faith with works of obedience. Are we fully persuaded as Abraham was? Paul himself was fully persuaded, as he confidently affirmed:
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Because of Paul’s faith in God, he endured his trials, he was not ashamed, and he was obedient to his calling as a preacher of the gospel. Brethren, if we are to be imputed righteousness as Abraham was, we need also to have a strong faith in Jesus Christ. We need to be fully persuaded in God’s promises, and we need to exercise our faith with works of obedience. Are you fully persuaded?
Friday, August 24, 2018
Jersey. Just three years later, Annie's mother died after giving birth to another baby girl. Mr.
Johnson took Annie and her sister to board with the widow of an old army comrade who had been killed
in the Civil War. The widow had two children of her own and had limited means. She begrudgingly
cared for the Johnson girls for two years.
There was a neighbor, however, that adored the Johnson girls. Though she was not a blood relative,
the girls would call her "Aunt Susie." Aunt Susie was a school teacher that boarded with the Flint
family near the school where she taught. Aunt Susie spoke so much about the Johnson girls that the
Flints looked into their situation and adopted them into their family. Mr. Johnson, who was
suffering at the time with an incurable disease that would soon end his life, was very pleased to
allow this loving, God-fearing family to adopt his daughters.
As Annie Johnson Flint grew up in the Flint home, she began to grow interested in writing poetry.
After completing high school, she became a teacher. She signed a contract to teach at a normal
school for three years. In the second year, she began to battle arthritis. Her arthritis became so
debilitating that she had great difficulty walking and struggled to complete her third year. It was
not long after that her adoptive parents passed away within only a few months of each other. Aunt
Susie came to the rescue and made arrangements for Annie to receive care in the Sanitarium at
Clifton Springs, New York. The doctors at the Sanitarium sought to help Annie but her arthritis
While at the Sanitarium, Annie was visited by a "little, tired, discouraged" lady who would tell her
troubles to Annie. When this "little lady" moved back west, she wrote to Annie telling her how
down-hearted she was and she didn't see why God allowed such difficult things to come into her life.
Annie responded with a poem entitled, "What God Hath Promised."
God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.
No, God has not promised skies always blue with flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
But God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we may
be saved from our sins and receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus died for us so that one day, we
may live forever in a place where there is no more suffering, pain, or death (Romans 6:23;
God has promised that He will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in
Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men
(Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
He has promised to continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word
(1 John 1:7-9).
God has not promised that this life will be easy. But He has promised that something far better
awaits those who will trust and obey Jesus.
-- David A. Sargent
* Information gleaned from "Annie's Story" by Rowland V. Bingham,
Bible Memory Association International, as it appears on www.womenofchristianity.com.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Some of the thoughts for this article were derived from the good discussion that the men had recently on leadership.
When we think about leadership in the church, most of us have the natural tendency to think about what the church or certain individual Christians should be doing. It just seems that it is much more difficult for us to perform self-inspection and ask, “What should I be doing?” Or, “What would make me a stronger Christian or better leader?”
There are certainly things that are beyond our control, but at the same time I never remember Jesus praying to His Father and saying anything like, “Well Father, I would have accomplished Your Will, but these apostles kept slowing me down.” Or, “I would have served You better, but the Pharisees kept opposing Me.” Jesus simply did what He needed to do in spite of others who were not so committed or cooperative.
The apostle Paul said, “examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). In order for each of us to be good leaders for Christ, we must have lives that are worth following! That doesn’t place a burden on others, it places a burden on us! In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” The best way to be a good leader is to manifest in our lives the attributes of Christ who was the greatest leader this world has known.
While we certainly need to do what we can to encourage our brethren, we need to give the most diligent efforts to being what we need to be. The kind of leader that takes care of himself will impact the lives of others and be a great asset to the church.
Friday, August 17, 2018
A Little Help with the Imagery of the Book of Revelation
· 144,000 is one of the many symbols in Revelation.
o 144 is a multiple of 12.
o 12 represents God's people: 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles.
o 1000 is the number of completeness.
o So 12 x 12 x 1000 = 144,000 which is the number representing all of God's saved people.
o It is never intended to be taken literally. Otherwise they could only be Jews of all but one tribe, as in chapter 7, and only virgins, as in chapter 14.
The beasts are the Roman Emperor and his henchmen – bent on enforcing Emperor worship.
“They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” is another symbol. It just means that though Christians were killed for their faith - by the Romans - they lived forever with Jesus. In other words, complete victory. Another symbol. It’s saying the same thing, in a different setting, that Jesus says in John 6 and 11 about never dying but having eternal life.
42 months, time, times and half a time, and 1260 days are just a way of referring to the period of persecution of God's people, but also the period which they come through and overcome. Check out the references in context in Revelation to see that this is true.
This New Testament book of Revelation, as with all of the New Testament, is about victory in Jesus for those who remain faithful to Jesus, no matter how bad things get.
I'm sure this is a powerful encouragement to many people in countries today facing terrible trials.
The first-century setting of Roman Empire persecution is the sternest test for King Jesus and his people. The book begins by telling us what must “shortly come to pass.” If they could win that battle, anyone can win any battle at any time in any place. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is King of time and place and history.
Just to whet your appetite:
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:9-12
Remember Jesus promising the kingdom would come with power within the apostolic generation in Mark 9:1? Just another clue as to the time-frame of the book of Revelation. We may lose our life, yet gain glory. Mark 8:34-38.
Satan’s time is short. Out time will never end … thanks to King Jesus - the Lamb slain who came to life and lives forever! No myth. Pure fact! Get real!
Never be deterred from reading Revelation. When you get used to it, you’ll love it. It’ll grow on you and you on it!
Thursday, August 16, 2018
“WHEN THERE ARE NO WORDS” – JUST BE THERE
Charlie Walton and his wife answered the door to a policeman bearing the worst news parents can hear. Two of their sons had been found dead. A friend, home from college, was found with them.
I didn’t know the Waltons, but had worked with the other young man’s mother and taught his younger sister. Stunned doesn’t begin to describe what each of us felt in the emergency faculty meeting called the following cold December morning.
Walton later wrote about the experience in When There Are No Words, a book that “describes that terrible moment when you want to say something to console a friend or loved one and no words seem appropriate” (from the back cover). I recommend it, or something like it, because unfortunately, even “when no words seem appropriate,” we usually feel something needs to be said. Often, those we comfort remember it, but not always in a good way. So, we are wise to remember some basics.
Keep it Scriptural. We Christians should excel here, but some have apparently accepted some of the world’s distortions. One I’ve heard often affirms, “God now has another angel.” Whatever else we can know about angels, the Bible always distinguishes between angels and people. At death, we pass to another realm of existence; we do not become different creatures.
Don’t presume to know God’s mind. It may frustrate us, but God has simply not revealed specific thoughts about our life events. We are less than helpful (to be charitable) when we act like he has. Telling an impressionable child who still thinks his grandpa can do everything that, “God just needed your grandpa more than we do” is both presumptuous and may lead him to wonder what kind of God would just take his grandpa. Hard questions about God may eventually come (cf. Gen. 18:25). We should not help them along with ill-informed comments at the wake or funeral.
Postpone big theological questions. Grieving people often feel and express anger at their loss. Sometimes, they direct it toward God – urgently, passionately, forcefully. We can help by providing them a safe place to vent. More discussion may be needed later; then again, it may not be. If it is, we also help by letting them know we will still be there for them then.
None of this should be taken to mean that we should not offer comfort to the grieving. As one who has been on the receiving end of that support, I struggle for words to describe just how strengthening it is. Others need us in those tough times. So, go. Comfort. Tell them how sorry you are for their loss. Tell them you’re praying for them.
And if those words seem insufficient, remember this wisdom from Walton: “every hug dilutes the pain.”
David Anguish - www.davidanguish.com - September 2011
A job transfer brought them to our area where we were one of only a couple churches within a reasonable driving distance of their home. They soon placed their membership with us and proved to be good additions – well-versed in Scripture, active, and generally present for our services.
But, they didn't attend Sunday Bible classes. His background was in a congregation that saw Sunday school as an unauthorized addition to New Testament teaching. From conversations with him, I learned that the group's stance had to do with an understanding about dividing up the church on the Lord's day. They continued their practice for some time as they worked with us before eventually changing their view and practice.
Because of our conversations, I knew why they didn't attend Sunday classes. I didn't know why the other 35% (on average) of our group didn't. I did suspect most of them would have objected had our elders considered discontinuing Sunday school.
What was the difference between the "anti-Sunday school" couple and that 35%? The couple understood the New Testament to teach a thing; the others just didn't come.
Sunday school as we know it began in the 19th century. But, that's not the beginning of the church's practice of formally teaching Scripture. We know a catechism was used as early as the third century. What began sixteen centuries later was a particular method of instruction.
That churches are to teach is a given. The first converts were approved for continual devotion to "the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42). Teaching is emphasized throughout the New Testament, as in texts like Ephesians 4:11-16, where "teachers" are among those charged to "equip the saints for the work of ministry." Even the idea of a catechism has New Testament roots. The verb katēcheō appears eight times, five of which refer to instruction in the Christian faith (Luke 1:4; Acts 18:25; 1 Cor. 14:19; Gal. 6:6; cf. Rom. 2:18). The question, then, is not whether we should teach, but how and when we will do so.
A few years after the "anti-Sunday school" couple came to us, we temporarily added a second Sunday morning worship service to accommodate our attendance growth. Our earlier service was the best attended, with classes scheduled between the two. Class attendance jumped from the 65-70% of worship attendance it had averaged for years to 85-90%. When we finished our new auditorium and classrooms and returned to a one service schedule, we scheduled worship first with classes following. Bible class numbers remained high — right up to the time we decided to go change our schedule back to what it had been before. From then on, our class attendance settled back at the 65-70% level it had always been.
Apparently, my suspicion had merit: the reason many did not attend Bible classes had to do with something other than a conviction about its propriety.
Lord willing, we'll meet for classes again this Wednesday at 7:00 pm and next Sunday at 9:00 am. Will we see you there?
David Anguish - www.davidanguish.com - January 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Many children throughout the U.S. began school this past week. There probably weren't very many
students who received a welcome like the students and faculty of Davis Elementary School in
Montgomery, Alabama, on their first day of school last Monday.
Around 300 athletes from Faulkner University, a Christian school in Montgomery, lined the sidewalks
and the halls of Davis Elementary to welcome students and faculty with smiles, high-fives, claps,
and cheers. This is the third year that Faulkner athletes, including cheerleaders and members of
the golf, football, soccer, basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the Eagles' mascot, Baldwin,
have provided the welcome to Davis students, parents, and teachers.
"It's so neat to see the motivation and the enthusiasm on the kids' faces and of the parents," said
Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, Vice President of Student Services at Faulkner. "Seeing our athletes out
here is a blessing and it gets everyone excited for who we are and what Faulkner stands for."*
It is the hopes of all that this grand welcome will be the beginning of a great school year.
There is another grand welcome that no one will want to miss.
The Apostle Peter wrote to some suffering saints (Christians): "you will receive a rich welcome into
the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:11 NIV).
They could look forward to this grand welcome into Christ's eternal kingdom because they had been
cleansed from their sins by the blood of Christ (2 Peter 1:9) and they had continued to follow Jesus
and had grown in their faith (2 Peter 1:5-8).
We can share in that grand welcome if we'll respond the same way those Christians did.
Sin will keep us out of the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21). That is the bad
news, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
But the good news (the Gospel) is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose
again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Through Him, we can have our sins forgiven and receive
the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 6:23).
God will save, give eternal life, and give a grand welcome to those who place their faith and trust
in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before
men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts
2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1
And one day, Jesus will say to all of God's children: "Welcome home!"
It is our hope and prayer that the promise of that grand welcome will motivate YOU to accept God's
offer of salvation and life on His terms.
-- David A. Sargent
* Information gleaned from "Faulkner athletes offer surprise welcome at local elementary school" by
Chellie Ison in An Update from The Christian Chronicle, August 7, 2018.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Esther 4:1--Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the King's palace can escape any more than the Jews."
An edict has been issued by King Ahasuerus to kill and annihilate all Jews in one day. Mordecai has appealed to Esther to intercede with the King on behalf of the Jews. Esther appears to be somewhat reluctant to do this so Mordecai reminds Esther that it would be false thinking to harbor the idea that she would be safe in the King's palace. In this temporal realm it is dangerous to hold false ideas in our hearts. It is even more dangerous in the spiritual realm.
The day is coming for each one of us when we will lie down in the sleep of death, shedding these earthly bonds as we go out to our eternal home (Heb. 9:27; Eccl. 12:5). Multitudes of people, perhaps including a good number of the brethren, are embracing the false idea that on that day some extraordinary changes are going to take place, changes they are not willing to make while alive. Do not expect to die out of Christ and awake in him (Gal.3:27). Do not expect to die rejecting the teachings of God given to us through divine inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16; Matt. 7:21-23; 2 John 9) and hear "Well Done". Multitudes are expecting to stand before God in judgment and hear they have been forgiven when they have not obeyed his plan for being saved. To expect forgiveness without faith and repentance and confession in this life is to expect the impossible (Heb. 11:6; 2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 8:37). To expect sins to be washed away without being baptized is to expect the impossible (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Acts 9:17-18).
Do not think that you can be saved eternally without accepting your responsibilities and living faithful to God until you die (Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 1:2-11; James 1:27; Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Cor. 15:58; Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 5:13; Heb. 12:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:18; Matthew 6:33).
What this all amounts to is that great numbers of people are expecting the impossible to happen when they put off this earthly tabernacle. Don't be one of them!
To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.--Philippians 20
How to be saved
Are you wondering how to be saved? Are you searching for information on how to be saved? Do you want to know what God requires you to do to be saved from your sins? Learn how to be saved from sin and have heaven you home by visiting http://www.abiblecommentary.com/newtestamentchristianity today! There is also a good discussion on how to be saved at http://www.commentaryonthebible.com/howtobesaved
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