Sunday, March 29, 2020
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the mid 1960s. Every day, he would go eat at
Payton's Drug Store. That's where he met a pretty young lady from the small
town of Kennedy, Alabama, named Margaret Crowley. After a courtship, they
married in 1968.
The Navy took them to California for a few years and then on to Washington,
D.C. When Wayne retired from the Navy, the couple moved to Mobile, Alabama.
At age 39, Margaret began to have trouble with her vision. She ended up
losing vision in her left eye. Due to some issues with her optic nerves,
the vision in her right eye was also impaired. But thanks to the good care
of a physician and God's blessing, she was able to retain some of the vision
in her right eye for many years.
Wayne and Margaret weathered the storm of her poor eyesight. Wayne
dedicated himself to caring for his wife. Other struggles with health would
come into their lives, but they leaned upon one another and upon their faith
One of their regular activities was watching and listening to the Getting to
Know Your Bible television program. They heard Billy Lambert preach many
lessons from God's Word through the years. They learned more and more about
the Word of God and the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ. In obedience to
the Gospel, they were baptized into Christ and were added to God's family,
the church, and began worshipping with the Creekwood congregation.
Wayne and Margaret were active members of the church as long as their health
permitted. Margaret's health declined to the point that she had to remain
home, but her loving husband stayed by her side to care for her. He was by
her side when Margaret passed from this life on March 12, 2020, after 52
years of marriage.
Although Margaret was legally blind, she had keen insight. I remember
visiting with her on one occasion when she said something that I want to
always remember. I asked her to repeat the statement so that I could write
it down. She repeated the statement that she had heard and had helped shape
her perspective: "It's not what the world is coming to, it's what - or Who -
is coming to the world."
She noted that so many ask in frustration, "What is this world coming to?"
But, she said, we should be looking forward to Who is coming to the world.
She was referring to the Second Coming of Jesus, when He comes to judge the
world and to take God's children home to an eternal, heavenly home. It was
to His coming and that eternal home that Margaret placed her hope. Please
read Titus 2:11-14 for a divine expression of that blessed hope.
The Good News is that God will save from sin and give eternal life to those
who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their
sin 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 John 1:7-9).
And no matter how difficult life may get in this world, God has given us
hope for something better. This blessed hope will be realized when Jesus
returns to take God's children home. Margaret Gill knew that truth. You
can have that same hope, if you'll accept God's offer on His terms.
-- David A. Sargent
* In loving memory of Margaret Gill, 1942-2020. Until we meet again.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
were rushing to stock up on toilet paper (why was that again?), Melody and I
were in Israel. Our sons were in Tennessee with their grandparents. To say
the tone was different from when we left to when we came home is quite the
understatement. Back in Denver, we were asked by our shepherds to
self-quarantine for two weeks. Since then, both Colorado's governor and
Denver's mayor have enforced increasingly strict orders to stay at home. So,
after about a week and a half of the five of us inside our house, I have
noticed some things about both our family and God's family.
• I love my family. Yes, I would have told you that before all of this. Yet,
in times like these, what is important becomes clearer.
• I love God's family. Yes, I would have told you that before all of this.
Yet, in times like these, that too has become clearer. Sure, there have been
some individuals who (I am certain with only the best of intentions) have
been divisive and discouraging. They are the smallest of exceptions.
• My family has more time for each other. Without the "busyness" of life,
sports, practices, running around, and whatnot, we have had so much more
time for each other. We have played games, cards, and sat and talked more
than I remember us ever doing.
• God's family has more time for each other. Of course, we miss getting
together in person. However, it has been so encouraging how much more time
and effort has been spent making phone calls, checking on one another,
calling "just to visit," and "Facetimeing" for devos and communion.
• I am more evangelistic. I've way more time to talk to my neighbors (social
distancing rules in place, of course). I have been online chatting. I have
filmed some Bible studies to share. I have posted more spiritual content on
• God's people are more evangelistic. I have never seen so many preachers,
elders, members, and deacons use the technology that God has given us to
reach out to the world.
• It hurts me not to help. Tied to the building that is our house, I have
not been able to do for others like I would like to do.
• God's people are helping. It would seem that not being tied to our
building has made us more aware of the needs of others. Robert Hatfield went
to the store for us. The Torres family bought meat for us while we were
still on the way home from Israel. Tyler King, Teri Autrey, Michael Hite,
and Cory Waddell have delivered things we needed to us. The Lord alone knows
all the others who have called or texted with offers.
• I feel the weight of responsibility for my family. In times like these,
especially, I am concerned about their physical health and safety, but also
in making sure we as a family stay focused on God.
• I have seen our shepherds feel the weight of responsibility for God's
family. I am quite sure none of this was in the job description, nor was
there any training offered for times like this. Nevertheless, their concern
for the physical health and safety has tempered every decision they have
made. In all things, they have tried to ensure we stay focused on God.
As we sit around talking and praying, I have wondered what long-term effects
the Corona Virus Pandemic might have on the church. Though having a building
is not wrong, will some congregations abandon them to use the money tied
into such for benevolent and evangelistic causes instead? Will we be less
tied to the building and "corporate worship" (whatever that means) and be
more focused on worshiping house to house and day to day? Will we prioritize
fellowship more? Will we appreciate assembling together more? Will we be
more loving, more evangelistic, and more benevolent?
I realize there is plenty of bad news going around, and I certainly do not
mean to belittle the suffering others are experiencing. However, just as in
New Testament times, the Lord can grow His church in difficult
circumstances, if we will focus on the positives over the negatives, and
prioritize scripture over tradition.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Mormons Speak in Tongues?
“In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the gift of tongues is manifested every day among the thousands of missionaries serving around the world. Missionaries learn foreign languages and the interpretation thereof with astonishing ease, and words come to them that they have not mastered.”
“Many Mormon missionaries have said that the Holy Ghost made it easier for them to learn a language they were struggling with. This is consistent with the Mormon doctrine that we must do all we can before God's grace will intervene (see 2 Nephi 25:23).” - https://www.mormonwiki.com/Spiritual_Gifts
Speaking in tongues in the New Testament did not mean learning a foreign language. The gift was miraculously bestowed as a sign for unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 14:21-25. On the day of Pentecost, when Galilean apostles spoke in the languages of the many nations gathered, those tongues were not learned by the apostles; they were miraculously bestowed in an instant by the Holy Spirit to help create faith among the Jews gathered – a sign that might help them to believe the gospel being preached so they could be saved eternally.
In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 1 Corinthians 14:21-22
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them
utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6
And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing
them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who
are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” … 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; Acts 2:4-11,17
And the result? 3000 souls called on the name of the Lord, were baptized and thus saved- the Lord adding those saved to His people: the church. Acts 2:21,37-47. In Acts 10, tongues helped Gentiles to be accepted.
Just as the signs Jesus frequently performed help hearers of the gospel to believe and receive eternal life, John 20:30-31, so tongue-speaking was but one of the miraculous signs confirming the gospel and helping to bring hearers all over the world to saving faith, Mark 16:15-20; Acts 10:34-38; Hebrews 2:3-4.
Just as Jesus’ miracles are not repeated today, so gifts like tongues were only available in the apostolic age, and not today, despite Mormons, various Pentecostals and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal all claiming they speak in tongues today in the 21st century.
However, the New Testament record of Jesus’ miraculous signs, as well as those apostolic wonders, is forever available to benefit seekers of the truth that God worked miracles through Jesus and the apostles.
God had never intended to keep on giving to his people, in every generation, miraculous spiritual gifts such as the gift of tongues or the gift of prophecy or the gift of healing. Paying attention to the written record of signs performed and witnessed in the 1st century is enough to see that the divine gospel was sufficiently confirmed. Note Daniel 9:24-27; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 16:27-31; John 20:30-31; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:1-4.
In the 21st century we must pay attention to the message of salvation we hear and read from the New Testament record, and we pay attention to the record of those signs, wonders and various miracles – signs and wonders that confirmed that the message of salvation was from God. We do not any longer need to see Jesus performing miracles, but we can read in the New Testament what He did. It’s the same with the apostolic miracles. “… though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him …” 1 Peter 1:8; 2 Corinth 12:12
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. 16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honour and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:12-21
· That miracles would be performed in the time of Jesus was prophesied. See Isaiah 29:18; 32:3-4; 35:5-6; 42:6-7,16.
· Therefore the fulfilment of those predictions should be expected, and we should not be surprised when they were witnessed in the 1st century. Matthew 11:4-6; 15:30-31; John 5:8-9; 9:1-12,17-33,39-41.
· The miracles were therefore not cleverly devised myths. 2 Peter 3:16.
· The apostles made these miracles known through their inspired New Testament writing. John 20:30-31
· “And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” 2 Peter 1:15.
· Because of the witnessing of Jesus’ miracles by the apostles, 2 Peter 1:16; because the apostles themselves used miraculous signs to confirm Jesus’ message, Mark 16:15-20; 2 Corinthians 12:12; and because of their recording, under inspiration what they witnessed, and performed, the New
Testament stands as a permanent and true record of the gospel and the confirming wonders and signs.
Those of us who have dined at a Chick-fil-A restaurant know that their
employees are trained to respond with "My pleasure" when thanked for a
service. Recently, one Chick-fil-A employee was recognized for taking his
customer service to a higher level.
Good Morning America recently launched a series called, "Good Morning,
Sunshine" in which they recognize some people who "put a little sunshine
into our lives." The first segment highlighted a young man name Jeremiah
Murrill, a drive-through worker at a Chick-fil-A in Wilmington, North
A loyal customer, Toya Liles, videoed Murrill as he engagingly and
enthusiastically took her order in the drive-through line. She posted the
video online and it went viral. "The world needs more people like
Jeremiah," Liles told Fox News. "His positive attitude and his exhilarating
spirit can brighten anyone's day."
Why is Murrill so cheerful and engaging?
Murrill explains that his interaction with one customer in the past has
changed the way he interacts with everyone. The customer was troubled, even
suicidal, when she met Murrill in the drive-through line. "This never
happened to me before, and I had no idea, like, how to respond, but I stayed
calm and I was like, 'You know what, let me just talk to her and make sure
this doesn't happen,'" he told Good Morning America. Murrill was able to
help the young lady.
Since then, he's been trying to bring a little sunshine into the life of
everyone that he meets. *
May I share something with YOU that can change your whole disposition, your
outlook on life, and even positively affect the way you treat other people?
Here it is: Jesus loves YOU so much that He gave His life for you so that
you can have forgiveness of sins and receive the gift of eternal life (John
3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
He didn't do this for you and me because we deserve it, but because we
desperately needed it. In our sins, we are lost and doomed to destruction
(Matthew 7:13-14). But Jesus loves us so much that He gave His life for us
so that we might have the abundant life now (John 10:10) and eternal life to
come (Romans 6:23).
God 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). Then, as we
walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us
from all sin (1 John 1:7-9).
Knowing "I am loved, I am saved, and I'm on my way to heaven," changes
everything - our outlook, our "in-look (the way we view ourselves)," and
even the way we treat other people. We understand that God loves other
people, too, and wants them to go to heaven (1 Timothy 2:4).
What Jesus has done for us is Good News (the Gospel). In fact, it's the
greatest, life-changing news of all. YOU can know that Good News in your
life if you'll only accept it on His terms.
-- David A. Sargent
* Information gleaned from "Chick-fil-A drive-thru worker who went viral
shares why he's so positive to every person" by Caleb Parke of
www.foxnews.com and #GoodMorningSunshine @GMA, Good Morning America, Steve
Friday, March 13, 2020
“To the pure, all things are pure.”
Titus 1:13-16 reads:
This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
The following analysis of this Scripture is part of a study entitled All Things Are Pure. Source: growingchristians.org. “All things are pure,” as expressed by Paul to Titus, is meant as the antidote to those trying to enforce Jewish dietary laws – that some foods were pure but others defiled you. Those words have nothing to do with the interpretation that suggests a Christian can look at what most people concede are immoral images, yet still regard them as something pure. Here’s the study:
The verses surrounding Titus 1:15 refer to the false teachers on Crete who taught that you became defiled if you ate certain foods or if you ate when you were ceremonially unclean. These false teachers were "those of the circumcision" (v16), that is, the unbelieving Judaizers of the first century. These false teachers included certain ascetic rules about eating and drinking in their "commandments" (v14). They advocated the Old Testament dietary laws and the additions and traditions of the Judaizers as a means of becoming spiritual and holy. Their sole emphasis was on external rule-keeping for purity, with no recognition of the absolute need for an internal change of heart. They totally disregarded the words of Christ who said, "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean" (Matthew 15:17-20). In the parallel passage in Mark 7:19 we read that Jesus "declared all foods clean." The Lord Jesus also told the Pharisees that when there was evidence of an internal change of heart, "then all things are clean for you" (Luke 11:41).
The "pure," then, are all who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who have had an internal change of heart through the work of God at conversion. All Christians are essentially "pure" because we are all partakers of divine life. (See 1 Peter 1:4.) Although we still have our sinful human natures, the new spiritual life we possess is "pure." Because of our new life in Christ, the Old Testament dietary laws about certain "unclean" foods do not apply to us today. These ceremonial regulations were all set aside with the coming of Christ. Obviously any man-made ascetic rules about foods or any stipulations about ritualistic washings connected with eating have nothing to do with the Christian life. Christians are free to eat beef or pork or fish or any food on any day of the week with washed or unwashed hands because "all things are pure." It goes without saying that we want to be careful about what we eat and how we eat for reasons of health and hygiene and even Christian liberty. But there is no food or drink that is impure in itself for the Christian. "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the Word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
The second half of Titus 1:15 and verse 16 deal with the unbeliever. "To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed." The unbelievers are called "defiled" because they have not had the internal change of heart that comes at the time of conversion. They are not pure because they are not "new creatures in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Thus "both their mind and their conscience are defiled" from God's perspective because they are not "born anew" (John 3:3). To these unbelievers, "nothing is pure."
The observance of ascetic rules and ritualistic ceremonies won't help a bit to purify an unbeliever. Their problem is not external but internal. Until the internal change takes place at conversion, the unbeliever cannot please God. Rule-keeping and ritualistic ceremonies do not make points with God. In fact, verse 16 indicates that the deeds of unbelievers prove that they do not know God. If they really knew the Lord they would stop their slander of God--teaching that following rules and rituals can make you holy and acceptable with God. To take such a position, then and now, is to be "detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed." (v16). To the humanistic way of looking at life, such a view is incredibly narrow and bigoted. However, it is not what we think but what the Word of God says that ultimately makes the difference!
In summary, we have come to understand that "to the pure, all things are pure" was written in the context of eating certain foods, not watching certain videos or reading certain magazines! Titus 1:15 does not mean that trash is somehow upgraded when handled by Christians or that Christians somehow become immune to the effects of the junk they read or view. While the expression, "garbage in, garbage out" is not a verse in the Bible, it is certainly true of the human mind as well as computers. ¾
The following Scriptures offer similar thoughts:
Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. Hebrews 13:9
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.16Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. 20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:8-23
When you are in Christ, holding fast to Christ, you understand that Jesus had declared all foods clean, ! Mark 7:19, while it is the pure in heart who will see God. Matthew 5:8. Of course, we must always be mindful of the scruples of our brethren. Romans 14.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
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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