Hugh’s News & Views (Fifteen Traits…)

FIFTEEN TRAITS OF DIVINE LOVE

Last week we wrote about four different words in the Greek of New Testament times by which the word “love” is translated in our English versions of the New Testament. The highest form of love is expressed by the word agape, a word indicating a deliberate choice of the will. By agápe one can love even someone he does not like and by such love one can and should desire and seek the best interest of all other people. It is with this kind of love that we are love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). It is this kind of love that husbands and wives are to have for each other (Ephesians 5:25-29; Titus 2:3-4) and the kind of love we are to have even for our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).

In I Corinthians 13 the apostles Paul gives a beautiful description of agápe. These set forth the behavior of a person who is characterized by such love. (We will use the New King James Version to set forth these traits, with comparisons to other English versions to help in better understanding some of the qualities). Fifteen traits are listed. Love… Continue reading

#hughfulford, #love-of-god

Wake up leaders

Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” (Acts 15:10-11 ESV)

Что же вы ныне искушаете Бога, *желая* возложить на выи учеников иго, которого не могли понести ни отцы наши, ни мы? Но мы веруем, что благодатию Господа Иисуса Христа спасемся, как и они. Деяния 15:10-11 Russian)

O LORD our God ~ thank you dear heavenly Father for bringing true joy into the hearts of all Christians who live by sincere faith in your beloved Son. Wake up leaders in every local church of Christ to the most important doctrine of ardent faith that we are saved by the amazing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Open new doors of opportunity for spreading the gospel of Christ while time remains. Give joy and encouragement to all souls who sincerely obey the gospel and receive your grace. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

http://www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com/

#davidbinkley #devotional

Seeking and saving the lost (7): Practical holistic evangelism

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 640 • May 9, 2021

SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST – Number 7
PRACTICAL HOLISTIC EVANGELISM: DO GOOD FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE.
Galatians 6:1-10

Evangelism is generally discussed in terms of “soul-winning” – that is, telling others what to do to be saved, and assisting the penitent believers in baptism. We discuss it both as a collective endeavor and as “personal evangelism,” as the church’s mission and the individual Christian’s mission too. We certainly do not want to understate the importance of this for the Christian. We encourage increased participation in it (Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 1:28, 2 Timothy 2:25-26). Continue reading

#evangelism, #geraldcowan

Seeking and saving the lost (6): Lord, what should I do?

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 639 • May 7, 2021

SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST – Number Six
LORD, WHAT SHOULD I DO (TO BE SAVED)? Acts 22:6-16

Have you ever considered what might be the most important question a person could ask? It is not, “What is truth?” – Pilate’s question (John 18:38). Of course that is an important question. Only the truth can correct error and defend us from abuse and exploitation by those who preach and practice error. About the answer given to every question, one should always ask, “Is it true?” The most important question is not, “How can I win friends and influence people?” It is not, “What can I do to make the world a better place?” The most important question one can ask is: “How can I be sure I am saved, spiritually safe and secure with God?” The question can be asked at various times and circumstances in one’s life. One who has not been saved should ask, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). One who has been saved should ask, “How can I make my calling and election– my salvation – sure, to be sure I still have God’s approval and blessing?” (2 Peter 1:10). All questions about salvation and spiritual security are variations of these two. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #salvation

Practice grows maturity

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

And when the cloud remained only from evening until morning, when the cloud was taken up the following morning, then they traveled on. Whether by day or by night, when the cloud was taken up they traveled. Numbers 9.21

Moses was the one chosen by God to bring his people out of Egypt. However, God was present with the Israelites as was clearly seen in the cloud by day and the fiery appearance at night!

The Lord led the people as they traveled. When the cloud stopped, the people stopped and made camp. They would stay camped until the cloud moved. They would then pull up camp and move following the cloud where it led. God was teaching his people obedience and in a way, practicing it with them.

It brings to mind a child who needs to be taught obedience. At times, it might be necessary to practice something, such as sitting still or staying quiet during worship. Practicing at home can make it easier. You have heard it said that practice makes perfect. You could say that practice makes one grow to maturity.

#risingjoy #devotional

Perfect mercy and grace

But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:45-47 ESV)

Як юдеї ж побачили натовп, то наповнились заздрощів, і стали перечити мові Павла та богозневажати. Тоді Павло та Варнава мужньо промовили: До вас перших потрібно було говорить Слово Боже; та коли ви його відкидаєте, а себе вважаєте за недостойних вічного життя, то ось до поган ми звертаємось. Бо так заповів нам Господь: Я світлом поставив Тебе для поган, щоб спасінням Ти був аж до краю землі! (Дії 13:45-47 Ukrainian)

O LORD – I trust in your perfect mercy and grace on this new day and always.Thank you kind Father for the air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink and the spiritual food you provide each day as we humble ourselves before your glorious Son who brought the greatest gift of love this world has ever known or will know. Help all parents who love Christ in their daily struggles to raise their children to love you and love others. Bless all workers in the great harvest field of the world who have left homes, families and loved ones to take the gospel message to the lost and dying of this world. Give leaders of the sending churches the same boldness in providing encouragement and support. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
http://www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com/

#davidbinkley #devotional

Comfort zone

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Peter began to speak to him, “Look, we have left everything to follow you!” Mark 10.28

The rich man had just turned away from following Jesus. Kneeling before him, he had confidently stated that he had kept the law wholeheartedly since he was young. What could he possible lack? To the disciples surprise, Jesus told him to go sell everything and give the money to the poor. After that, Jesus invited the rich man to follow him. He went away sorrowful because he was comfortable with his riches.

Peter and the disciples were perplexed by what had happened. The man was rich. He had been blessed. Yet, unless there was a change, he would not be saved. Peter wanted to affirm that he and the others had left everything to follow Jesus. Indeed, they had. They had left professions that might not have made them rich, but that they exercised with some degree of success. They had left it all to follow Jesus.

You hear today of your comfort zone. It is the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity. Jesus wants you to leave your comfort zone for the sake of the gospel. He confirms that you will go through persecutions here in this life. But it is worth the effort that you make.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all could function with ease and familiarity teaching the gospel to others? Jesus promised to be with us, Matthew 28.19-20. How is your comfort zone?

#risingjoy #devotional

Sparkling evidence of grace

So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:25-26 ESV)

Потом Варнава пошел в Тарс искать Савла и, найдя его, привел в Антиохию. Целый год собирались они в церкви и учили немалое число людей, и ученики в Антиохии в первый раз стали называться Христианами. (Деяния 11:25-26 Russian)

O LORD my God, to you I lift up my soul on this new day that arrives with sparkling evidence of your grace and mercy to all people – especially those who love you and obey your beloved Son. Give us wisdom to recognize valuable workers like Barnabas who worked diligently to encourage the work of the apostle Paul. Help all faithful followers of Christ to unite upon the Spirit inspired name Christian. Moreover, wake us up to the moral responsibility to behave like Christ in all things. Stifle the efforts of those who throw cold water on the blessed work of spreading the gospel to all nations. We earnestly pray in the precious name of Jesus.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com/

#davidbinkley #devotional

Victory song!

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you? — majestic in holiness, fearful in praises, working wonders? Exodus 15.11

The Israelites had left Egypt in a hurry. However, it is time-consuming to move such a large number of people very far. Pharaoh had time to regret his decision. Gathering his army, he chased after them. The angel of God and the pillar of cloud stayed between the Egyptians and the Israelites so that one camp did not come near the other.

God instructed Moses to keep moving, lifting up his staff to divide the waters of the Red Sea. The Israelites walked across on dry land. The Egyptians followed. God told Moses to extend his staff once more for the waters to return to their place. God fought for the Israelites against Egypt. The army of Pharaoh was destroyed!

The Israelites sang a song of victory. They proclaimed God’s power and strength in this song. They sang of his holiness, as well as the wonders that he had performed.

Do you have a song of victory? Can you look back and sing of the many ways that God has delivered you from evil? Do you lift your voice in praise to his holiness?

Oh, the songs that many of us could sing!

#risingjoy #devotional

David’s advice

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Come children. Listen to me. I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord. Psalm 34.11

David had an intimate relationship with God. He was said to be a man after God’s own heart, Acts 13.22. Though he was not without sin, David had a heart that would listen when he was confronted and he would repent. David wrote Psalm 34. He could certainly teach others what it means to fear the Lord.

David’s advice was to not use evil words or deceptive speech. He would tell you to turn away from evil and take the right action. He would want you to strive for peace promoting it instead of violence. David’s life was one that was full of war and fighting to the point that when he wanted to build God a house on earth, he was not allowed to do so. However, he gathered the materials that would be needed so that his son, Solomon could accomplish the task.

He would tell you to cry out to God when in trouble assuring that God hears the godly. God is with the broken-hearted and the discouraged. David wrote that the godly face many dangers, Psalm 34.19. God saves them from each one.

David gave his heart to God. You must do the same. As long as you try to live by your own strength, you will be met with failure and overrun by the evil that exists. Follow David’s example and give not only your heart, but your life to God.

#risingjoy #devotional

Seeking and saving the lost (5): The challenge of presenting God’s word

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 638 • May 5, 2021

SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST – Number Five
THE CHALLENGE OF PRESENTING GOD’S WORD

It can be provocative and productive, putting things into a perspective slightly different from the usual, to see that God challenges us, lays a challenge before us and urges us to accept it. For example, we are speaking here of: (1) God’s challenge to the church: Demonstrate God’s eternal purpose to bring all the saved together into Christ (Ephesians 1:10 and 3:10). (2) God’s challenge to His people everywhere to speak up for Him: Preach the gospel of God everywhere in the world (Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:18-20). This is sometimes called “the great commission.” It is not only for the original apostles and inspired evangelists. Matthew’s account makes it clear that the task is passed on to each one who becomes a disciple. It is not just “inspired” men but all Christian men who are to teach to others the truth they themselves have received (2 Timothy 2:2). Judging from the poor execution of this charge we might refer to it as “the great omission.” Few are doing it, and even fewer are teaching that we must observe and do all that Christ has commanded. Continue reading

#evangelism, #geraldcowan

Acceptable in God’s eyes

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34-35 ESV)

पेतरॉस ने उनसे कहा: “अब मैं यह अच्छी तरह से समझ गया हूँ कि परमेश्वर किसी के भी पक्षधर नहीं हैं. हर एक राष्ट्र में उस व्यक्ति पर परमेश्वर की कृपादृष्टि होती है, जो परमेश्वर में श्रद्धा रखता तथा वैसा ही स्वभाव रखता है, जो उनकी दृष्टि में सही है. (प्(रेरित 10:34-35 Saral Hindi Bible)

Almighty God, our dear Heavenly Father ~ hear the prayers of praise and thanksgiving from our hearts and minds as we strive to be acceptable in your eyes. Restore passion for saving souls among elders and those faithful evangelist who go into all the world with the saving gospel of Christ. Energize the church so that nothing except your perfect will can hinder dedicated workers who are preparing to cover the earth with the glory of Christ Jesus by announcing Good News to all people. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
http://www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com/

#davidbinkley #devotional

Just hang on

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

“Oh that my request would be realized, and that God would grant me what I long for! (…) Job 6.8

Sometimes you just have to hang on. You may be going through a difficult time in your life and not fully understand why. The significance of what is happening is not apparent. During these times, you need to be careful what you pray for.

Job had a good life. Until Satan asked for permission to mess with it. Suddenly, Job’s life was turned upside down. He lost all of his children, as well as all of his material possessions. He did not know why. His friends accused him of having secret sin. His wife encouraged him to curse God. He was ridiculed and rejected. He never learned the answer to the question, “Why?”.

Job reached the point of praying to die. God did not answer this prayer with a yes. That was a good thing! For later, God would bless the second part of his life more than the first, Job 42.12. All without Job ever knowing why it happened.

So, when things turn difficult and you do not understand why, remember Job and just hang on. Know that God is in control and will fulfill his purpose, whether you understand what it is or not. Trust Him to do what is best as you do your best to serve Him remembering that heaven during eternity is the reward that you seek!

#risingjoy #hang-on

Hugh’s News & Views (Love)

LOVE

We Americans use the word “love” in a variety and mixed number of ways, not all of them having equal weight or value. We “love” college football, hamburgers, french fries, lemon icebox pie, our country, the state we live in, the town we live in, the mountains, the beach, springtime, summer, the fall, some of us even “love” wintertime and a big, beautiful snowfall.

We “love” to play golf, fish, hunt, and work in our yards. We “love” our cars and trucks, our dogs and cats, a friend, a certain TV program, a particular movie, a certain actor, a particular author, a special publication. Teenagers “love” their girlfriend or boyfriend. In grade school we all experienced “puppy love.” Continue reading

#hughfulford, #love

Seeking and saving the lost (4): Reclaiming backsliders

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 637 • May 2, 2021

SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST – Number Four
RECLAIMING BACKSLIDERS (James 5:19-20)

A wayward or “backsliding” Christian may be more “lost” than he or she was before initial conversion to the truth of God and salvation of the soul (read carefully Hebrews 6:1-6, Galatians 5:4 and 6:1, 1 Corinthians 1:12, and 2 Peter 2:20-22, and other similar warnings). The remedy and restoration of the backslider requires cooperation of both the seeker and the sought with God and His truth, His gospel in Christ. How can one seek and save the wayward Christian, and what must the wanderer do to be allowed back into God’s acceptance and approval? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #restoring-the-erring, #salvation