Three new writers on Forthright Magazine:
TFR readers are probably aware of it, but there it is.
Maybe a fourth to come in a few weeks.
Three new writers on Forthright Magazine:
TFR readers are probably aware of it, but there it is.
Maybe a fourth to come in a few weeks.
Distraction can be dangerous. The dangers of texting while driving should be apparent to all and as a result most states have made it illegal. Drivers need their full attention on the road. Tests have revealed that those so doing are as dangerous as those who are driving under the influence. It only takes a second for a lack of attention to cost one his life.
Some distract others for devious purposes. Teams of thieves who distract their prey for just a moment and pick their pockets.
Sometimes the distractions are by things that seem so innocent. For instance when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha they had two different reactions. Mary is said to have “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39). But about Martha Luke records, she “was distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40). She let something prevent her from listening to the Lord. She was distracted.
Now, let me mention a problem. It exists in many places and here as well. There are simply too many distractions in our worship. We may think they do not affect us, but they do others and perhaps ourselves more than we realize. Although it is not my purpose to be offensive, I must simply call attention to this with a confident expectation that it will be improved. Let me mention a few. Continue reading
My evangelistic study tonight fell through, got rescheduled for Thursday night. After it, I’ll probably return to the dentist, after a week of tooth-testing. The cancellation did allow me to finish up the new series of studies I’m doing, called, in translation, “What Must I Do?” Sounds original, yes?
Internet was down at home a good part of the day. It’s been problematic recently. Steady rains may have something to do with it. Fortunately, I could run to the office and catch my music-school neighbor’s wifi, with his permission.
Since I was planning on the study at 6 pm, I didn’t go into the office until the afternoon. That means I finished up the homemade muffins with fresh blueberries about mid-morning, and had a fine lunch of a artichoke sandwich. After that, a bit of a nap. Don’t forget the nap. Power nap, they call it. I’m a believer.
Have been reading tweets from the FHU Lectures. Sounds lively. Talk of gun control, pacifism, and homosexuality in the Open Forum. Has anybody been by the Forthright Press stand/booth/table (?) in the exhibit area?
Here are a few thing I did today, some of which you can actually read online:
If somebody’s interested in contributing to The Christian Hub, choosing from the listings in the feeds, let me know.
Details are still being hammered out, but put Mar. 10 on your calendar, when I’ll teach a seminar on evangelism in N. Little Rock. Yup, as in Arkansas, USA. Would love to see you there.
Psalm 50 is pictured somewhat like a modern-day courtroom scene, where God is the Judge, District Attorney, Juror, and the key Witness against His people. In this psalm, God judges His people, He witnesses against them, and He calls them back to Him. Last week, we began looking at this judicial scene, observing the Judge (God) entering His courtroom in all His glory (vv. 1-6) and also the testimony of the key Witness against Israel (God, vv. 7-15). Continuing this scene, notice the following: Continue reading
Your day has finally come. You enter the courtroom for the trial, make eye contact with the district attorney, and take your seat at the defendant’s table. The words echo throughout the courtroom, “All rise; the honorable JEHOVAH is now presiding.” Much to your surprise (and chagrin), you realize that the judge is the same person as the district attorney; after a few double takes, you realize there is absolutely no difference in these two. Can you imagine such a scene? If not, then read Psalm 50, for that is the picture—Jehovah God is the Judge, District Attorney, Juror, and the key Witness against His people. In this psalm, God judges His people, He witnesses against them, and He calls them back to Him. The time of writing for this psalm is unknown, though it is thought by many to be sometime near either the captivity or restoration of God’s people. Let us now continue through the amazing picture painted by this psalm. “This court is now in session.” Continue reading
Here’s a good article that I got from the church in Wise, VA this morning. I thought it was worth sharing:
Have you ever heard anyone say, as an explanation for some sinful action, “I have become so confused I don’t know what is right anymore”? As a rule, the person who says such a thing is one who has had clear convictions but has acted, or is about to act, contrary to them.
This must be what the Holy Spirit was saying about Eve in 1 Tim. 2:14. “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”
To say that she was deceived is not to say that she was ignorant. She quoted perfectly what God had said: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die'” (Gen. 3:2,3). She was deceived when she thought there could be any valid reason for disobeying God.
We cannot know how long Adam and Eve avoided the forbidden tree. With so many other trees from which to eat, there was no need to eat of it. There is no evidence of confusion regarding the right and wrong of eating or the wisdom of abstaining. They were happy ignoring it.
But along came Satan to draw Eve’s attention to the tree she had been avoiding. He drew here attention to the beauty of the fruit and somehow convinced her, perhaps by eating of it himself, that it was good for food. If he did eat of it, the fact that he did not die surely gave support to his contention that she would not die. One can see the confusion mounting. The arguments she considered conclusive against eating were rapidly being snatched by arguments for doing so. Which arguments were valid? Both seemed to be.
Had Adam been nearby, or had God spoken again, she might have been reminded once more of the strong reasons for rejecting the fruit. But as it was, the voice of God grew weaker in her memory as the desirability of the fruit was magnified by Satan’s glib lies. All that was needed to tip the balance was the final suggestion of an apparent virtue in eating — the thought that she would become like God. Never mind the legalistic prohibition; surely one could not be blamed for wanting to be like God.
“She took of the fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6). Tragic words! Tragic consequences! Consequences reaching down through countless generations even to us!
The great mistake of Eve was in allowing herself even to begin thinking about disobedience. This was the mistake of Achan when he first saw the Babylonian garment (Jos. 7:21), of David when he first saw his beautiful neighbor bathing (2 Sam. 11:2) and of Judas when he first thought of betraying Jesus. It is the same mistake each of us makes — men and women alike — whenever we sin.
The Bible says much: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown brings forth death” (Jas. 1:14,15).
There is ample defense available. If we are wise enough to meditate on God’s laws in such circumstances, (Psa. 119:11), and to ask Him for deliverance (Matt. 6:13), He will, with the temptation, “also make the way of escape” (1 Cor. 10:13).
But all too often, in the name of open-mindedness and objectivity, we feel we are obligated to look at the other side, to consider the “arguments in favor of” sin. We may even be so foolish as to parrot the existential line: “I must get away to myself and sort things out.” If this means getting away for Bible study, meditation and prayer, fine! But this is seldom what it means. As a rule, what it means is: “I want to be left alone to rationalize my way through the sin that entices me without having to reason with those who would logically or scripturally expose my folly.”
Such conflict between conscience and passion, between logic and emotion, between authority and anarchy, between flesh and spirit will indeed produce confusion — confusion bordering on insanity. But it is a confusion for which we are responsible. It is the peculiar malady of “those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” and who “did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10,12). It is never surprising when such a person, “being deceived,” falls into transgression.
In Jesus’ day “there was a division among the people because of Him” (Jn. 7:43). They were confused by the contradiction between His claims and the accusations of their rulers. Jesus stated clearly who would not be confused: “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak of My own authority” (Jn. 7:17).
Wanting to do God’s will will save us from the confusion, deception and transgression into which our mother Eve fell.
Sewell Hall – Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 11, March 15, 2009
Here’s an article from “Ken’s Newsletter” that was sent out last March entitled “Absolutely”. It’s worth the read.
Is there such a thing as absolute truth? Some say no, that what is right for you may not be right for me; that if your standards work for you, that’s fine, but don’t try to impose them on me.
Try this: Imagine playing a Super Bowl with no absolute rules determined by the NFL. The Steelers would be starting 13 players instead of 11; they voted on it in Pittsburgh. Unanimous approval. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has reprinted the rulebook and they are going to take five downs on every possession. The Colts will be using this huge trampoline to help halfbacks on short-yardage plays.
Or imagine two big jets trying to merge on the same runway. They would no doubt need to initiate something like a Frequent Survivor programs.
So how in the world can anyone imagine that we can maintain any semblance of stability as a nation when we have abandoned absolutes. If forty years ago someone told me we would be confused about whether abortion is wrong, about whether sex outside of marriage is wrong, about whether we should be giving out condoms at school, I would have dismissed it as unthinkable.
You see, in the past, people violated God’s rules, but there was a general understanding that there was a standard that existed. But today this culture denies that any criterion exists and we can all just live as we please. And the only thing that is absolutely wrong is when I stand up and say something is wrong. We are told we are supposed to tolerate anything except those who will not tolerate everything.
Are there any absolute truths?
This may be the most critical question of our time. If we answer correctly, logically, we can restore stability to this nation. If we answer incorrectly, we sign our death warrant as a culture.
Consider the first and last phrases of the Great Commission: “All authority has been given to me … … I am with you always even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). Would you please consider just what this means. It means first that there is a source of absolute truth and the source is the person of Jesus Christ. Truth is not just moral code written by some sitting council and vulnerable to change. Truth is embodied in a person who is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” He said I AM the truth. And he walked out of his own grave to prove his right to say it. Continue reading
In 1 Timothy 6:9-17, the apostle Paul warns against the dangers of money. Money is the number one source of problems among married couples, and it is the number one desire of a great number of people today. Let us now notice the admonition of Paul against the dangers of money, and let us heed his admonition to avoid this perilous wile of the devil (cf. Eph. 6:11, 17). Continue reading
In Psalm 73, verses 3-14, Asaph contemplates the seemingly prosperous state of the wicked, admits that he was envious (v. 3), and laments that “They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men” (v. 5). However, in verses 15-16, Asaph admits being a bit embarrassed at his thoughts, acknowledging that his thoughts, if heard by some, might cause one to stumble. He further notes in verse 16 that the thought of causing one of God’s children to stumble was too painful for him to bear. In verse 17, Asaph states that when he went into God’s sanctuary (i.e., he studied God’s Word, worshiped, meditated on God’s ways), then he understood the end of the wicked. It is hard to conceive of any one of God’s children not having thought along the same lines as Asaph in verses 3-14 at some point or other in his/her life. It is the age old question of, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and, “Why do the wicked prosper?” But, let us note carefully what the Holy Spirit inspired Asaph to write concerning the end of the wicked in verses 18 and 19 of Psalm 73. Continue reading
Most of us are familiar with the words of Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It may be that we have memorized the verse, or it may be that we are familiar with it because it is a song we often sing with our young people at camp and various other youth activities. This one little verse can teach us so much. By breaking this verse down into four parts, notice the powerful lessons it teaches us. Continue reading
We previously noticed that a nation’s leader greatly influences the behavior of that nation’s people; that a nation’s leader should not always be followed; and that, ultimately, all leadership is from God. This week, let us continue this study by noticing 3 other points of interest in regard to national leadership.
God uses leaders. God often used leaders of nations to accomplish His ultimate purpose. Continue reading
Children sometimes like to play the game “follow the leader,” in which one person is the leader, and the others imitate that leader’s behavior, speech, etc. Even as adults, we often use the phrase “follow the leader” to denote our emulation of some leader’s behavior, actions, and so on. As our country prepares to elect its next leader, this topic of leadership is especially important to consider. Let us notice a few points of interest in this regard. Continue reading
I remember one occasion when I was a youngster, and my mother was about to scold me for some wrongdoing, when I butted in, “But, I didn’t do anything!” My mother, not deterred in the slightest, exclaimed, “Exactly! And, that’s why you’re in trouble!” I had transgressed my parents’ law, not by doing something wrong, but by failing to do that which I was supposed to have done earlier. Thus, I learned (the hard way) about the sin of doing nothing.
This lesson is taught in Scripture in the book of Judges. In chapter 4, Israel had fought and defeated the Canaanites, under the leadership of Deborah and Barak. Chapter 5 records Deborah and Barak’s victory song after their conquest. It is to verse 23 that our attention is now directed: “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.” The inhabitants of Meroz were cursed, not because they had done any particular action that was wrong, but because they had failed to do that which they should have done—help their brethren in the fight against the Canaanites. Thus, Meroz learned the hard way about the sin of doing nothing. It is not enough simply to refrain from doing wrong, but God’s children must also be careful to do that which they are expected to do. Continue reading
“Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the lord. 31And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. 33And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (Eze. 33:30-33).
In this text, God’s people were hearing, but they were not doing. God said He was going to lay the land desolate (vv. 28-29), and many would die of pestilence (v. 27). Because of these punishments, the children of Israel would know that Jehovah was God (v. 29), and they would know that a true prophet of Jehovah had been among them (v. 33).
The people’s disobedience to God was not from a lack of knowledge and/or hearing of the will of God. Ezekiel had faithfully prophesied the word of the Lord to them. As God said to Ezekiel, “They hear thy words, but they will not do them” (Eze. 33:31). They heard and knew God’s will, but they simply refused to obey it. God goes on to say, “With their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (33:31). These people professed love to God with their mouths, but their hearts were certainly not right in the sight of God. God even tells Ezekiel that he (Ezekiel) is like mere entertainment to them, pleasing to their ears, for they hear him and go their way, ignoring the message from God. What a terrible situation in which to find the very people who are supposed to be God’s faithful! They were the ones who were supposed to represent God to the world, and they were ignoring the teachings and warnings from the very One whom they supposedly served. But, God left this warning at the end of chapter 33: “And when this [the pestilence and desolation, ccd] cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (v. 33).
Today, we often see the same problem among those professing to be God’s people (and often among those who are God’s people). The text in Ezekiel 33:31 reminds this writer of Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:8: “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Notice Jesus’ statement immediately following: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (15:9). Hearing God’s Word is not enough if we do not put what we hear into practice. How many people will be lost on the Day of Judgment, not from ignorance of God’s Word, but from failure to put what they heard into action? Let us ever be mindful of the words of James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” May we also remember the inspired words penned by the apostle Paul, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). Friends and brethren, I doubt that anyone reading this article is having a shortage of hearing the Word of God. But, is the Word being obeyed? Read Matthew 7:24-27. Both of these men heard the word of the Lord; the difference was only that one heard and obeyed. Are you going to be wise or foolish? The choice is yours.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24-27).
[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]