Hugh’s News & Views (Bible Thoughts On Unity)

BIBLE THOUGHTS ON UNITY

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed” (Amos 3:3)?

“I do not pray for these (the apostles, hf) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I You; that they all may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you have sent Me” (John 17:20-21). Continue reading

#bible-verses, #hughfulford, #unity

Dec. 18. John’s Account of the Gospel of Christ

John and his brother, James were both fishermen who became apostles of Jesus. They along with Peter were said to make up a close inner circle with Christ. They alone were with Him on various momentous occasions. It is likely that James and John were fleshly first-cousins of Jesus. During one of His last utterances on the cross, He turned the care of His mother, Mary over to John.

The apostle, John did not refer to himself by name in his account of the gospel. It is highly likely that he was the “other disciple” of John the Baptist that left with Andrew and followed Jesus.

John was very active, along with Peter and the other apostles in nurturing the church in its earliest days in Jerusalem. It is thought that he spent many years in and around Jerusalem. In later years, he moved to Ephesus and it was in this area that he wrote five books of the New Testament.

The Gospel According to John was written about A.D. 80, several years after the other New Testament authors had written their works. He probably wrote it from Ephesus. John’s account was in a more accurate chronological order than that of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

John’s account of the life and teachings of Jesus focuses more upon His divinity than that of the other accounts. Note that he began by placing the Word (Christ) at the beginning of creation.

The purpose for John’s writing is found near the end of his narrative. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Known as the apostle of love, John wrote extensively about God’s love for man and the love that man must have for Him and for one another.

#chronological-bible-study

I will ask you one question: Mark 11.29

“Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question. Answer me and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.'”

Mark 11.29

Jesus was wise. He did not fall into enemy traps. He did not naively answer gotcha questions. Instead, he uncovered people’s duplicity and hidden motives.

Wisdom is knowing that all may not be as it seems. The challenges of man may hide the devil’s wiles.

#votd #Mark #wisdom

Shock the senses

Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:6-7 NRSV)

I mówił dalej: „Wykonało się! Ja jestem Alfa i Omega, Początek i Koniec. Spragnionym za darmo dam pić ze źródła wody życia. Zwycięzcy otrzymają wszystko: Ja będę ich Bogiem, a oni—moimi dziećmi. (Objawienie św. Jana 21:6-7 Polish SZ-PL)

O LORD God, our dear Father in heaven ~ surround us and fill us with your Spirit of love along with highest hopes for ourselves and all others who accept your grace that leads us to follow Jesus as Lord. Give us pure wisdom higher than what humans are normally capable of comprehending. Strengthen our feeble legs so that we will never surrender to the deceptive ways of the Devil. Lead us kindly and gently into your eternal presence when our struggle is ended. Shock the senses of those who are knowingly headed for the second death. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr.

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

Dec. 17. A Letter from Jude to Christians

Jude 1-25

We are told that Jesus had fleshly brothers and sisters. At first, during His earthly ministry, His brothers did not believe in Him. However, they were later converted and were present with their mother and the apostles in Jerusalem soon after His ascension into heaven. James and Jude later became great leaders in the church and wrote the letters in the New Testament that bear their names.

Much time and effort were consumed during the early years of the church refuting the errors of false teachers. The purpose of Jude’s letter also was to forcefully warn about false teachers and the tragic results of following them. Sadly to say, if he were writing today, false teachers would still need to be identified and warned.

No one is sure when Jude wrote his letter, but many believe it was probably written from Jerusalem about A.D. 68. He directed his comments to Christians in general, but probably more specifically to Jewish believers. Parts of his letter are similar to portions of Peter’s second epistle. It is probable that as he referred to parts of the Old Testament, he also quoted Peter’s writing to emphasize some of his points.

Jude identified himself as the writer of this letter, a brother of James and also as a servant of Jesus Christ. As he began, he inferred that a longer and more general letter about their salvation had been planned. The need to urge them to fight for the faith (one and only faith) against false teachers caused him to change his purpose.

Evil men even denying God and Christ, his Son had slipped into the church. Their false teaching and vile manner of life were cause for Jude’s urgent concern that they be stopped immediately. They were a dire threat to the peace and harmony of the church.

Jude reminded his readers of examples of how God had dealt in the past with those who rebelled against His will. Even though He is loving and merciful, He is also just and certain to punish the unrighteous. He compared them with well-known Old Testament characters Cain, Balaam and Korah who were severely punished for their sins.

False teachers appear to offer much, but their promises are like empty clouds and barren fruit trees. They instead, like hidden reefs in the sea destroy those unaware of their presence. Enoch prophesied in an obscure prophecy thousands of years earlier about the punishment of these men.

Ungodly men are sly in their attempts to mislead God’s children. Jude gave some identifying marks of such men. They were described as grumblers, complainers, self-centered, flatterers and mockers. These people must not be followed nor tolerated because of the divisions they cause in the church.

As Jude began to conclude his letter, he issued a call for positive action. He urged them to build themselves up and keep themselves in the love of God by calling on Him to strengthen their faith. One calls on God through prayer and His reply can be found by a careful study of His word. One is kept in the love of God by conforming to His will.

Stronger Christians were instructed to have compassion on those who are weaker and to try to save them from the influence of the wicked men among them. Strong and vigorous teaching would be necessary to convert the more hardened sinners. Care must be exercised by teachers to avoid being caught up in their same errors.

Jude ended his letter with a tribute and praise to God. He is able and willing to keep His children from stumbling as long as they keep their eyes upon Him and His word. God is our Savior and He is wise. Glory, majesty, dominion and power are His now and forever.

#chronological-bible-study

Do not lie to one another: Colossians 3.9-10

“Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.”

Colossians 3.9-10

Lying belongs to the old way of life. Christians have turned over a new leaf. God is renewing and transforming them. So they must live following the image or example of Christ.

Fear hides behind many a lie. Some people are just malicious. Do not we know better? God is true and cannot lie. The truth of the gospel precludes our use of lies. Watch your tongue!

#votd #Colossians #lying

Dec. 16. Paul’s Farewell Message to Timothy and to Us

II Tim. 4:1-22

In view of the many admonitions that Paul had given Timothy in his letter, he began to conclude by giving him a charge to be strong and bold in his preaching. Paul realized that his time as an apostle was nearing its end. Timothy would have more responsibility and must be ready for all opportunities to proclaim God’s word preparing lost sinners for the judgment that is coming.

Paul warned Timothy that even his time as an effective preacher was limited. There was a time coming when people’s ears would itch for words that sounded good to them. Instead of listening to the pure gospel, they would seek false teachers to tell them what they wanted to hear. He was admonished to remain true to his work as an evangelist even if it caused him to become unpopular.

As the time for Paul’s departure (death) or release from this world came near, he reflected upon a life of service to God and the ultimate reward for such a life. He wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” These were words to encourage young Timothy to follow in his footsteps and to disregard the persecutions that he would endure as a Christian.

Paul followed his spiritual admonitions with instructions regarding personal items that he needed Timothy to bring with him to Rome. He stated that he was alone except for his long-time co-worker, Luke. Demas had forsaken him but he had sent Titus and others to assignments in other places. He asked Timothy to bring Mark to help him.

Many people had helped Paul during his ministry. Others had been great hindrances. He warned Timothy of a coppersmith named Alexander who had done him much harm.

Even though Paul stood alone as he was first arraigned before Nero, he was not alone! The Lord stood by him and gave him strength to proclaim the gospel even to those who witnessed his trial.

According to historians, Paul soon suffered a brutal physical death, but those who could kill the body could not destroy the soul that was protected by our loving God.

Since winter was near, Paul urged Timothy to come as quickly as possible. He needed the items that he had requested and he would probably be dead by spring.

As he closed his letter, Paul sent greetings to some of his friends in Ephesus. He also sent greetings from Roman brethren along with a prayer for the well-being of Timothy.

#chronological-bible-study

Will he not do it? Numbers 23.19

“God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a human being, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen?”

Numbers 23.19

For all his perfidy, Balaam understood this and insisted with Balak: One must be careful to speak only what the Lord has put in one’s mouth, v. 12. For God will do exactly as he says he will do.

Humans often say one thing and do another, be it parents, children, friends, or work associates. In what area do we pretend that God will not do as he reveals?

#votd #Numbers #God

Dec. 15. Steadfastness while Facing Evil; All-Sufficiency of the Scriptures

II Tim. 3:1-17

God has dealt with man in three distinct dispensations. In the first, he communed directly with the patriarchs (heads of families), Adam, Abraham, Jacob and others, for example. After using Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, He instituted the law of Moses to guide His people.

On the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection, Peter explained that it was then the last days (Christian dispensation) that the prophet Joel had prophesied many years earlier. These “last days” or third dispensation will continue indefinitely until Christ returns to claim His own.

Paul named a group of serious sins that man would be committing during this period of last days. There would be many who professed to be Christians guilty of these sins. We can personally observe that man continues to be sinful today. He instructed Timothy to turn away from such people. Teach and if necessary, withdraw fellowship.

Hypocrites teaching false doctrines would gain the trust of weak Christians, especially of sinful women who were easy to deceive. False teachers will eventually be shown for who they are by the teaching of the truth and be punished for their wickedness. Paul mentioned two men who resisted Moses as he attempted to free the Israelites from Egypt. They were shown as examples of the folly of resisting God.

Paul reviewed the relationship that he and Timothy had shared from the times of his beatings during his first missionary journey with Barnabas and how he had endured faithfully until the time of this writing. He urged Timothy to remain faithful to the Scriptures that he had learned from early childhood. All who live godly will suffer persecutions either physically or mentally (ridicule). Just as Paul had been delivered by God from his persecutors, Timothy could expect that same deliverance. These Scriptures teach the way to salvation if one will only obey their commandments.

According to Paul, ALL Scripture was given through inspiration from God. Peter also stated that God, “…as His divine power has given to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness…” All is an inclusive word that excludes everything that man might attempt to add to God’s word. Peter further stated, “…holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

The Scriptures teach God’s commandments; rebuke evildoers; correct error and guide men toward right living. Christians must follow them in order to be complete.

#chronological-bible-study

Hear the prayers of faith

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13)

Умію я й бути в упокоренні, умію бути й у достатку. Я привчився до всього й у всім: насищатися й голод терпіти, мати достаток і бути в недостачі. Я все можу в Тім, Хто мене підкріпляє, в Ісусі Христі. (филип’ян 4:12-13 Ukrainian)

O LORD my God, holy and regal is everything that surrounds your august throne! Dear heavenly Father, hear the prayers of faith from all your children of faith who reside in various nations around the world. Supply those who are in need this morning – especially young children and helpless elderly people. Most of all dear Lord, shock the senses of everyone who is following Christ so that we will not keep ignoring the cries of the needy. Grant us your perfect wisdom so that we will be the hands and feet of our Lord wherever we may journey today and for the rest of our lives on this earth. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr.

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

A noble wife: Proverbs 12.4

“A noble wife is the crown of her husband, but the wife who acts shamefully is like rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 12.4

Nobility is strong character for righteousness. Such a wife honors her husband. The shameless wife “is like a disease which gradually wears down and weakens the bodily frame” (J.E. Smith, Wisdom Literature & Psalms).

Marry well by choosing a person of good character. Be a person of nobility by developing in your life the right living which pleases God.

#votd #Proverbs #marrriage

Dec. 14. Fatherly Advice to a Young Preacher

II Tim. 2:1-26

In view of the dangers of falling away due to persecutions, Paul gave his son in the faith some fatherly advice. He urged Timothy to be strong in the faith and to continue to preach the true gospel to others who in turn would also teach others.

Paul pointed out that in pleasing God, a soldier of Christ will suffer hardships. As in a military army, he must direct his efforts toward warfare instead of being involved with the cares of the world. Athletes must train and compete according to the rules of the game. Loyal soldiers and athletes receive their reward just as the farmer partakes of his crops after a period of hard work. The faithful soldier of Christ will receive his reward after the judgment.

As Paul continued his letter, he reminded Timothy that Jesus was of the lineage of David as had been prophesied and that the main point of the gospel is His resurrection from the dead in order that the elect (those who obey its commands) may obtain eternal salvation. If He was willing to suffer for mankind, man must be willing to suffer for Him. He stated that even though he was in prison because of his preaching of the gospel, the word of God cannot be chained. It will continue to influence men for good.

If one will die to himself and to sin and will endure with Christ, he will reign and live with Him in heaven. When one denies Christ, he will also be denied. A person’s lack of faith will not change the fact that Christ did indeed die to save the faithful.

After pointing out the hardships that Timothy would suffer, Paul turned his attention toward instructing him on the message that he must preach.

Timothy must avoid lost time and confusion involved with useless arguments over issues of no importance. False teachers were trying to inflict the Jewish law upon Christians. It is necessary for one to use care as he studies God’s word in order to separate the commands of the Jewish law (law of Moses) or any false religion from the gospel (law of Christ).

Paul mentioned two men who had misled others by teaching that the resurrection had already passed. He compared the effects of false teaching with the devastating effects of gangrene or cancer. It not only destroys those who teach it, but it also destroys those who believe its lies. False teaching however will not destroy the truth of the gospel. God will save those in the judgment who remain faithful.

As he continued, Paul pointed out that the church, the spiritual house of God has honorable members and dishonorable members just as one’s physical house has both honorable and dishonorable furnishings. It is the personal responsibility of each Christian to maintain his position as an honorable member of the house of God.

The young preacher, Timothy was admonished to guard his life by fleeing youthful lusts and avoiding foolish conflicts with others. Instead, he must pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. Correcting error in others must be done patiently and in humility.

#chronological-bible-study

On writing and objective knowledge

This link, about the importance of note-taking, does not directly touch on spiritual things, but there are not a few applications and illustrations that can be made from the quoted point.

Your presence in our daily affairs

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14 ESV)

Вони воюватимуть проти Агнця та Агнець переможе їх, бо Він Господь над панами та Цар над царями. А ті, хто з Ним, покликані, і вибрані, і вірні. (Об’явлення 17:14 Ukrainian)

O LORD God Almighty ~ thank you dear Heavenly Father for this new day that brings many pleasant reminders of your presence in our daily affairs. Open the hearts of all people on earth to the message of salvation from sin. Eternal life united with your beloved Son and dear saints with whom we will enjoy eternal joys unimaginable. Guard our minds so that we will not be deceived by Satan as he attempts to distort the truth. Silence the mouths of all false teachers whose promises are completely worthless. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr.

Cedar Key Church

#david-binkley

I long to strengthen you: Romans 1.11

“For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you”.

Romans 1.11

Paul hoped to visit the Romans in order to, first, bless them by passing on miraculous gifts in their midst, since they apparently had never had an apostle among them.

The desire to be among the saints is prompted in the first place by the desire to bless others, not seek a blessing for oneself.

#votd #Romans #blessing