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  • John T. Polk II 8:33 am on 2014-06-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, good judgment, joking, , madmen, , practical jokes, , ,   

    (#181) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:18-19-Impractical Jokes 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 26:18-19: “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, ‘I was only joking!’”

    A “madman” is a person who is out of control because he/she isn’t bothered by moral restraint, sympathetic feeling, or consideration for others. Anyone who indiscriminately “throws” around “firebrands” (or torches, bombs), “arrows” (or bullets, missiles), “death” (or ieds, drones, or other instruments of death) leaves a path of burned, wounded, or dead people! It does not excuse such behavior by simply saying, “I was only joking!” So-called “reality” TV shows that see “what people would do” set a standard of lies, deceit, and trickery that hardens the consciences of their audience against good judgment and sympathy. When angels of God warned Lot that Sodom would be destroyed for its perversions, “Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14). When something is taken as a “joke,” then the responses to it are not real, and in their case, they died because of it!

    Christians are not to participate in such madness: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6). Such behavior doesn’t become a Christian. What is condemned is: “filthiness” which is behavior without morals; “foolish talking” which is empty conversation that shows contempt or ridicule; “coarse jesting” which is the double-entendre, underhanded, turned meaning of words. All of these are what worldly comedy, practical jokes, and other types of madness are made of. Christians can have “fun,” just not like “a madman.”

    Do not be deceived by “empty words” that say otherwise, God will hold each individual responsible for his/her behavior on: “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). No joke!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 7:59 am on 2014-06-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, drunkard, , , , ,   

    (#180) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:6-7, 9-10-Misplaced Trust 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 26:6-7, 9-10: “He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like the legs of the lame that hang limp Is a proverb in the mouth of fools…Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. The great God who formed all things Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.

    “Fools” are people who live worldly lives and ignore God’s Laws: “A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident” (Proverbs 14:16); “A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them” (Proverbs 27:3); “A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11); “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart at his left” (Ecclesiastes 10:2). Therefore they cannot be trusted like someone who is obedient to God: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:8-10).

    Verse 6: After reading about “fools” in the Book of Proverbs, knowing they do not respect God, truth, responsibility, or concern about others, depending upon “a fool” to accurately pass along “a message” makes the sender seem as lame as the message! Such is the stuff of gossip, slander, and libel: “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips” (Proverbs 20:19). People who refuse to work are usually guilty of “gossip” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).

    Verse 7: “A proverb” is designed to parallel an earthly truth with heavenly understanding. Solomon said: “And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright-words of truth” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-10). Jesus said: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12). “Lame legs” cannot bear their user, neither can a “proverb” convey truth to “a fool.” Jesus used “parables” for that reason (Matthew 13:10-13).

    Verse 9: “A drunkard” has lost sensitivity to pain (Proverbs 23:35), so would not consciously understand a parable that he/she taught!

    Verse 10: ALL of this inequity, uncertainty, and lack of dependability will be paid back, for God will judge and punish “fools” by giving them their “hire” and pay them back what they have earned, for “he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Colossians 3:25).

    “Fools” can be saved, but only if they repent of being foolish. Christians were “once foolish,” but saved by the “kindness and love of God our Savior” when they repented and were baptized “for the remission of sins” (Titus 3:3-7; Acts 2:38, 41, 47). Don’t trust in foolishness!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-05-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, , , , ,   

    Since God Created humans only God can provide… 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 25:26: “A righteous man who falters before the wicked Is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”

    No one but Jesus Christ has been perfect but the ungodly Jews hurled every accusation against Him they could concoct. “And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him” (Luke 19:47-48); “Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none” (Matthew 26:59-60); “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly” (Matthew 27:12-14).

    Sinful people cannot wait to find “a righteous man” who sins, for then they may say, “Christians are hypocrites;” “I’m as good as anyone who goes to church;” “the Gospel of Christ hasn’t helped all others be good,” ad nauseum. And it is true as Solomon later said: “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Ecclesiastes 10:1). No one is justifying sin in a righteous man, “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).

    Sinners who point their finger at a Christian who “falters before the wicked” are: (1) hypocritical; arrogant; judgmental; unjust; and merciless, all of which are damned by the Word of God; (2) ignorant of the fact that they are “the wicked” and therefore damned by God; (3) expecting God to follow their standard of judgment (no sin can be condemned as long as a righteous person has sinned), instead of His standard of righteousness (John 12:48-50; Acts 17:30-31).

    Knowing sinners seek to “justify themselves in the sight of men” (Luke 16:15), Christians must “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). But know this, no sinner’s sins will be excused by any Christian’s sin(s) because “those who are outside God judges” (1 Corinthians 5:13). If you are outside of Christ, you have no excuse and only one appeal. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Sinners, are you too “chicken” to see if you can do any better?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2014-05-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, , , Instagram, , , , ,   

    (#174) The Proverbs of Solomon 25:17-Twitter This 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 25:17: “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, Lest he become weary of you and hate you.”

    If there ever was a cautionary warning about “social media,” this is it! It is possible to “wear out our welcome.” Facebook fans, beware. Not everyone wants to read about what your husband will have for supper, or how many messy diapers your baby has had, or how many trips you make to the store, or where you plan to grill food for company, or everything your children accomplish. The most tiresome invitation used to include, “and we have slides of our family,” but now it seems to be “friend me on Facebook!” There are many who “unfriend” those who seem to “think” with Facebook, Twitter, or on other social media. Enough is enough.

    Social media seems to have cultivated a climate that was condemned by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul: “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan” (1 Timothy 5:13-15). The responsibilities of home and family should be enough to keep one busy, and avoid being “gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” With our constant, instant communication devices, people have forgotten the self-limiting barriers that should protect our privacy. It seems that “Generation N” (Narcissists) thinks everyone should be interested in everything going on in their lives without ever asking for that information!

    The communication today is wonderful when used properly, but remember “too much familiarity breeds contempt.” Try talking to God, He does not get tired: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 9:00 am on 2014-05-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, , , ,   

    #172 The Proverbs of Solomon What To Do… 

    (#172) The Proverbs of Solomon What To Do When It’s “Reigning”
    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    This group of proverbs are good for understanding more about God-ordained government (Romans 13:1-7). The timelessness of these rules is seen in Christians who: “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men– as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God” (1 Peter 2:12-16).

    Proverbs 25:3: “As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable.” Citizens outside of government circles may never fully comprehend its decisions, as “the heavens” and “the earth” may not completely be understood.

    Proverbs 25:6-7: “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; 7 For it is better that he say to you, ‘Come up here,’ Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.” This is a good social rule to apply to almost any situation, as Jesus applied it spiritually in Luke 14:7-11.

    Proverbs 25:15: “By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.” It may take many appeals to be heard, but a ruler’s quick response may come from irritation and anger. Patience is a virtue (2 Peter 1:5-8).

    Proverbs 29:26: “Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the LORD.” Whatever government may decide, whether Supreme Court decision, Presidential Executive Order, or Congressional Legislation, the ultimate judgment of human behavior is in the hand of God only: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 7:45 am on 2014-05-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, , , , , , ,   

    (#171) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:27-Comfort Is Not Job One! 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ. Proverbs 24:27: “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.” Work must come before convenience and comfort. The Garden of Eden came with a job (Genesis 2:15), having food requires work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), and this proverb emphasizes the comforts of a house depends upon how good of a job one does “outside” to earn that house! Many people have turned this completely around, for they are getting bigger and bolder houses, beyond what their parents have achieved, before establishing themselves in a career-type work. The order here taught by Wisdom should be to learn to work and earn while living with their parents so they are ready to embark upon working experiences that will help them toward their goal(s). All Old Testament prophecies of the Israelites returning to their Promised Land were fulfilled in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, however not without urging. In Ezra chapter 4, the re-building of the temple in Jerusalem stalled out, but God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to preach plainly (Ezra 5:1). The people should not have been building their own houses and neglecting God’s House: “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.’ Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!”’” (Haggai 1:2-5) Jesus applied this very truth to spiritual matters when: “great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple’” (Luke 14:25-33). Jesus also said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Obey the Lord first (Acts 2:38), get a job second (Ephesians 4:28), then plan some comforts (Proverbs 24:27). All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:07 am on 2014-03-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, , , , ,   

    Loving our Neighbor is no Joke! 

    So a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan are walking down the Jericho road…but there’s no rim-shot that follows this line up. In a lesson about eternal life, loving God and loving one’s neighbor, Jesus tells a story that is still reverberating up to this day, and Jesus’ main point is that loving our neighbor is no joke!

    Loving our neighbor forces us to cross ethnic and racial lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross economic and social status lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross unconventional and personally uncomfortable lines.

    Hands get dirty when love enters the picture. Resources get used when love enters the picture.  Lives change when love enters the picture. And this is only for those who are willing to show it. Even the self-justification seeking, or maybe we could say excuse giving, lawyer of Moses’ Law had to admit this!

    So the next time we have the opportunity to laugh at the misfortune of those with whom we don’t “gee and haw” we may need to stop and reconsider who the joke may end up being on if we fail to have a heart that sees the seriousness of loving our neighbor.

    If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

     
  • TFRStaff 6:52 am on 2014-03-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian Living, , , , making a difference, , ,   

    SIGNIFICANCE OF A FEW! 

    Power and significance in outcomes is not always associated with large numbers. God brought some great victories for Israel with just a few. Remember the victory He brought through Gideon with only 300 men. (Judges 7:7-8) Also, prior to entering the promised land, Israel was reminded of what had been done because God had been with them, in that one had been able to chase a thousand and two to have put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30) This was to be a reminder that with God it mattered not what the count looked like; whether it be few or many.

    Let us also remember all it would have taken was the presence of ten righteous souls to have spared the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities. (Genesis 18:32) What if Abraham had asked if God would have spared for the sake of four: Lot, his wife, and their two daughters?

    Now, consider a focus during the days of the prophet Jeremiah where we read. . .

    “(1) Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to SEE IF YOU CAN FIND A MAN, ONE WHO DOES JUSTICE AND SEEKS TRUTH, THAT I MAY PARDON HER.” (Jeremiah 5:1 ESV)

    The New Living Translation reads, “”Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! IF YOU CAN FIND EVEN ONE JUST AND HONEST PERSON, I WILL NOT DESTROY THE CITY.”” (NLT) Find JUST ONE? Only ONE would have made the difference? How sad that at this time Jerusalem refused to repent and a period of captivity followed.

    Consider the significance of OUR OWN LIFE in connection with our trust in God. Regardless of what the world around us might be doing, let us never underestimate the significance of our continued living by God’s standard. Though God has made clear there is a day coming for His judgment (1 Peter 3:10), perhaps — in His patience (2 Peter 3:9) — He is presently sparing the world because He wants our godliness to have more OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE a few more souls around us.

    Let us not give up living according to what God has revealed to be right. Those around us need to come to grips with that! With our life lived for Him, His work of sparing souls can still take place. To Him be the glory!

    Have a great day BEING ONE FOUND TO BE HONEST AND JUST! – Carl Hanson

    “teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

     
  • Glenda Williams 11:34 pm on 2014-03-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian Living, , ,   

    For a minute I saw a child 

    We were seated in a booth at a favorite fish restaurant eating our food when I spotted him. He was sitting at a table slightly behind and to the side of my husband. A big, football type man, he was seated with two women. Their food came, and I didn’t mean to be looking at him, but I’m glad I glanced his way. He took his hands and put them together in a prayerful position. He held them up to his face and bowed his head to give thanks for his food.

    Somewhere there is a mother that years ago taught a little boy to give thanks for his food and how to fold in his hands in prayer. For a minute I saw her child, and I salute her. She would be proud.

    “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

     
  • Glenda Williams 3:40 pm on 2014-03-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian Living, , , , ,   

    “I want to go as long as I can.” 

    Lou Davis Higgins, 94 years old, lives in the Woodbury, TN area, and is my husband’s aunt. Aunt Lou Davis, as we call her, became a Christian at the age of 13 years. She was baptized by brother Lidge Martin in Lucky, TN. She said, “I remember how wonderful I felt when I came up out of the water, and I feel more wonderful now.”

    Lou Davis Warren married Brady Higgins, September 9, 1939, and to this union came four boys: Jimmy, Glenn, David and Steve. They were married almost 56 years when Uncle Brady died.

    When visiting in Tennessee recently, we were blessed to visit and talk with Aunt Lou Davis. It was on a piercing cold, Wednesday afternoon. Aunt Lou Davis was making plans to go to Bible study at the Woodbury Church of Christ that night. She said, “I want to go as long as I can.” One might ask, “Well, why shouldn’t she?” Aunt Lou Davis is blind. She could easily have made any number of excuses for not going on that bitter cold night. She could have said:

    1. “It’s Wednesday night. It is not absolutely necessary that we attend Bible study on Wednesday night.”
    2. “It’s freezing weather outside. It’s just too cold to go. I might get sick, and it would be the death of me.”
    3. “I’m 94 years old. The Lord doesn’t expect people my age to attend every service. He understands.”
    4. “I’m blind.”
    5. “I can’t drive anymore, and I don’t want to put people out to come help me back and forth to church.”

    She could easily have offered these excuses. When I shared my thoughts with her about this article, she said, “That’s what they would be…excuses, not reasons.”

    Thank God for those devoted saints who trudge on toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus, setting a perfect example for us to follow.

     
  • Glenda Williams 10:20 pm on 2014-02-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian Living,   

    He Said, “I Wish Mama Knew” 

    We were finishing up business at a nearby funeral home, when a man walked out whom I knew years ago. His mother had died, and his family was making her final arrangements. I introduced myself and my husband, and expressed our love and appreciation for his deceased loved one. Immediately he said, “I wish Mama knew that I changed my life, that I’ve got my life straightened out.” His mother had suffered with Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years, and had not been with them mentally for many years.

    Our conversation continued about the years we had known his mother, and he just couldn’t get past the thought that he wished his mother knew he had gotten his life straightened out. He mentioned it four to five times. Our hearts went out to him. I wish we could have said, “She knows,” but I don’t believe there is a scripture to back up that belief. I wish I could have said, “You’ll see her again, and can tell her,” but I don’t know that to be true, or not true, for them.

    The point is he was feeling great sorrow because he didn’t straighten out his life while his mother could know about it. He admitted leading a rough life, but kept saying how he had it straightened out now. But the one person he wanted to know, more than any other, was his deceased mother.

    A grown man, with grown children, and he still wanted to please his mother. He wanted her to be proud of him, to know that he was no longer the person he had been. But he waited too late. His mother died without knowing. He has to live with that internal grief forever.

    Too late is such a sad statement. Douglas, my husband, was preaching in a meeting in a small Tennessee church on one occasion. A dear brother, who was handicapped, came in late for the evening service. When the service was over, I told our friend we were so happy he had come, and his reply was, “Oh, but sister Williams, I was late.” Trying to comfort him, I said, “Brother (name withheld), that’s okay. You made it. We’re glad you’re here.” His reply continues to ring in my ear. “But Sister Williams, if that plane had been leaving for heaven, I would have missed it.”

    Today is the day to make things right in life. Today is the day to prepare. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait too late!

     
  • TFRStaff 6:37 am on 2014-02-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christian Living, , , ,   

    LET HIM HAVE IT! 

    Isn’t it hard to be for those who are against us? There are some situations where perhaps we would like to just let people have it, whether that be a verbal tongue lashing or a fist to the face. However, are we not glad God has been for us even when our choices have gone against His Will? (note Romans 5:6 & 8) Though His judgment is to be taken seriously, for the present He offers the opportunity to repent and be drawn to a closer walk with Him. Therefore, considering how much FORGIVENESS WE HAVE RECEIVED from God, are we being MINDFUL OF BEING AS MERCIFUL toward others as He has been toward us? (note the parable of the unmerciful servant recorded in Matthew 18:23-35) Praise God for His gracious mercy.

    Because it has been a few years, I can’t even remember the book I read it from, but what has stuck in my mind is the author’s mentioning of four responses to actions that may have been directed against us. The choices were that we could either curse it, nurse it, rehearse it, or reverse it. It was the author’s choice of words which have helped me remember them. Which of these we follow through with will impact the manner in which we treat others.

    Remember Paul’s exhortation where we read. . .

    “(14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and DO NOT CURSE THEM. . . . .(17) REPAY NO ONE EVIL FOR EVIL, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (19) Beloved, NEVER AVENGE YOURSELVES, but LEAVE IT TO THE WRATH OF GOD, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:14 & 17-19 ESV)

    Some things may be easier to forgive than others. There are also some life incidents or situations difficult to remove from our mind. It is not foolish to live mindful of what we draw our life into and what situations might best be avoided. Still, forgiveness from the heart is important not only due to the impact it will have on how we treat others, but also because of what we are able to release from our own life as we LEAVE IT TO GOD to deal with things according to His mercy and will. If we can trust God with other areas of our life, let us also trust Him in this. By doing so, our life load will remain much lighter. Leaving repayment to God, He will bless us for our service to others and ultimately call to account those who have refused His Ways!

    Have a great day TRUSTING GOD’S DEALINGS WITH OTHERS!

    “teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-02-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Christian Living, , , , , , , , , ,   

    (#150) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:27-Why God Makes Common Sense 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 20:27: “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.”

    The mythological Doctrine of Evolution, which is disseminated by the Government, cannot account for “the spirit of a man,” since it is God Who “forms the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1), but “Evolution” is an atheistic belief. No “scientist” can ever disprove the existence of “the spirit of a man,” for true science can only deal with what is physically observable, and, as the bodily resurrected Jesus Christ said: “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).

    Because God has given each human a spirit, what God has provided makes sense! God has:

    1) Created “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and all scientific knowledge is centered upon learning facts about what it is, how it works, believing the evidence that points to God as Creator (Hebrews 11:3; Romans 1:20-23). God as Creator is what makes sense;

    2) Made heterosexual, monogamous marriage the basis of all civilized societies (Genesis 2:18-25), and the plan for conception, birth, and proper instruction of each individual in the world (Colossians 3:18-21). God’s Design of Marriage, always makes moral sense, and always works when followed;

    3) Readily inspired and controlled the writing of the Bible through men! It is because of this, we know “that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). This is how we have the New Testament “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5). This is why Bible study makes sense;

    4) Given moral guidelines that are obvious, and fit with our “common sense!” “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21);

    5) Given the Gospel of our salvation that makes sense! “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:24-29).

    With the Gospel of Christ, look into your heart, for “As in water face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man” (Proverbs 27:19).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • Glenda Williams 3:15 am on 2014-01-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Christian Living   

    Is Your Bible a Special Book to You? 

    Recently I was checking posts on Facebook when I came upon a video made of Christians in China receiving Bibles. Someone placed a large, black, suitcase on the floor and unzipped it. It was filled with Bibles. The men and women rushed to it as if it were filled with one hundred-dollar bills, or a favorite food item. Soon the Bibles were all taken, and the case was empty. (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 8:20 am on 2014-01-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian Living, , , , , , , ,   

    PRACTICAL FOR LIVING! 

    One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

    Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

    The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

    “(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

    On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
    faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

    “(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

    There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

    Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

    “(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

    Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

    Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – Carl Hanson

    (“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

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