Human beings need goals. Without goals, people have no direction, no destination.
Of course, God is keenly aware of this and has included this necessity for us in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:13-14 KJV).
The context of the passage tells us Paul was not a man who believed that once he was saved he would be ultimately saved, but instead continued working toward that goal.
Involved in that is forgetting the past. Many people like to dwell in the past. People agonized over their missteps. They think about “what might have been.”
But one cannot change the past. One, however, may chart a course ahead and work towards it. If one constantly lives in the past, they’ll never have a goal and nothing to look forward to achieving.
Paul said, “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” This is the way Christians should live. If there are past sins, ask forgiveness and then keep trying.
When Olympic runners near the finish line, they lunge forward to break the tape. The winner is the only one who can do this, but others who run can set goals for the day when they will break the tape themselves. That’s the way to run a Christian race!
The elderly brother in Christ came to our house early again tonight, as has been his habit of late, and ate supper with us. He makes a few comments during our group reading of John 14. Afterwards, our other participants have to leave early, but he stays for hot chocolate and carrot cake. While everybody else is in the kitchen, he and I talk about dying, and people he will miss who won’t be nearby when that time comes.
• I asked the participants tonight, after the reading and some explanation and discussion of the texts, what verse from the chapter — we read all of it — most caught their attention. Of those who volunteered these were mentioned:
- v. 23, the Father and Son taking up residence in the obedient person;
- v. 27, peace that Jesus gives;
- v. 30, about the “ruler of this world.”
• The Way. Either we must ignore Jesus altogether, or confess him as the exclusive way to God. And more, he tells us, “you know the way.” When Thomas protests that he doesn’t know the way and Philip asks to be shown, our Lord gets miffed. After I’ve been with you all this time, he says, how can you say, ‘Show me the Father’? They’re agnostics and he wants them to face up to the Knowledge they have and have had for so long. What must he think of those who have the Bible in hand and deny the ability to know?
• If the following is true, many have been roped and bound. “The fear of people becomes a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD will be set on high” (Prov 29:25 NET). Isn’t the fear of people the essence of political correctness? Those who live in fear of others’ opinions and reactions are a sad sight to behold. I pray I may not be one.
The toughest question I was ever asked, was by an elder in the church before I became a Christian. He asked me, “Have you thought about your soul?”: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2008/10/05/have-you-thought-about-your-soul/
I was 15 years old at the time, and I had never been asked that question. For some time, my grandmother had been urging me to obey the gospel. After pondering this question in light of Scripture, I came to the conclusion that my soul was indeed in great jeopardy of being eternally lost.
I quickly decided that my soul was far more important than anything else I could imagine. There was no rational reason whatsoever to delay my obeying the Lord in baptism any longer, and thus I was baptized on January 1, 1960.
I’ve never regretted the decision.
The trouble with Internet posting is you don’t often grasp how far-reaching the post is. A few weeks ago I posted the following: “A November (15, 2010) USA Today editorial headline declared: “Religious people are better neighbors”. Are they? The answer is no if you listen to a growing new profession: the professional atheist. This is an atheist who makes his living aggressively attacking religious faith. For instance, Christopher Hitchens argues “religion poisons everything”. However, the truth says otherwise. Christians do not spend all their time in church. They are the first to help the poor and elderly and the help the most. They are more involved in volunteer school and youth programs. They donate more blood, aid the jobless more, and on the list could go. Religious people, particularly Christians make the best neighbors. Get in trouble and who are you gonna call? An atheist? ”. I had moved on and forgotten about it. But over the weekend I received a response and it turns out to be from an atheist. He argues: “Well, actually, Harris is arguing not that there were people who did terrible things, and they happened to be religious; he’s arguing that these people are doing such things directly because of their religion. He’s saying that, using the Bible as an example, there are justifications in this book for all kinds of human atrocities and it is also supposed to be the perfect word of the creator of the Universe.” I am grateful that the writer narrowed the field to the Bible, because I would not want to defend any other religion. He claims the Bible justifies and motivates atrocities, but offers no example. On the other hand, what we do find is a God who says the 2nd greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself. We discover God defending the widows and orphans and encouraging kindness to foreigners. We read of Jesus telling us to love even our enemies and helping those in need. I challenge any atheist to survey the public where Christian faith is strongest and ask “Does Christian faith and practice make this world better or worse?”
I’m wondering if anyone in The Fellowship Room has ever heard of the “Restoration Christian Church”? I’ve heard of the Christian Church, but not the “Restoration Christian Church.” The following link comes from a Twitter posting: http://www.faithfulpreaching.com/index.html
Millions of novels have been sold under the name of author Anne Rice. She is best known for writing books about vampires. Rice made the ABC evening News last month by declaring that she was abandoning Christianity. On her Facebook page she said, quote, “I quit being a Christian. I’m out!” Why? Rice says she is fed up with Christianity being, quote: anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-artificial birth control, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanism, anti-science and anti-life. Talk about a mixed bag; this is it! It appears she jumped on her horse and rode off in ten different directions. But in the final analysis the problem lies with who has authority to establish boundaries – Rice, churches or God? God’s word alone should guide us. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
Talk about quality control, this takes the cake. The government of China executed 18 factory managers, twelve men and six women by firing squad in 1989 because of the poor quality at a refrigerator plant just outside Beijing. Officials explained that their inferior products constituted “unpardonable crimes against the people of China.” Customers had complained for years about the long wait for refrigerators that were often unusable when delivered. While I believe in quality products, I think this is a little over the top. Although I suspect there was an upward turn in efficiency and quality. Few of us realize what the world is like outside where the culture and thinking has not been tempered by Christian influence. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
What 10 verses should a Christian commit to memory?
1. Deuteronomy 6:24-25
2. Psalm 1:1-3
3. Psalm 119:11,103-105
4. Proverbs 3:5-6
5. Matthew 6:33-34
6. Matthew 7:12,21
7. Matthew 16:24
8. Philippians 4:8,13
9. Colossians 3:1-4
10. Colossians 4:5-6
My faith is encouraged by my brethren and their influence.
Wendell Winkler wrote a tremendous study book entitled, “The Christian and His Influence,” which I think is one of the best books on the subject anywhere. In the book, Winkler pointed out that everyone has influence; influence is either good or bad; and influence outlives us and exists beyond the grave (Revelation 14:13). He taught much more in the little book, but those things are very prominent to me.
There have been many good brethren in my life who have encouraged me to build up my faith by the study of God’s word (Romans 10:17). They have encouraged me through their own example and by the teaching of the Bible. Many good brethren have been a positive influence and also corrected me when I fell.
There have been some brethren who have been an example of Christian love and there have been brethren who have bult me up into a useful tool for the Master. Those brethren have my thanks. My prayer is that I may be counted worthy to let them know of my appreciation in eternity.
Some of those who have been a positive influence in my work will only know how much they’ve accomplished when this old world is over and the fruits of their work are fully realized. Won’t it be wonderful when we can sit around the throne of God and praise him for his wisdom, and for those who have encouraged us to walk by faith!
“I don’t need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist, or Catholic, or Muslim. When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk though a door with a label on it.”
The above quote came from a CNN story Saturday highlighting the philosophy of some 18-29-year-olds fond of the “I’m-spiritual-just-not-religious” movement. Known as “millennials” because they were born between 1980 and 1995, they identify themselves as spiritual but not religious and wish to be left out of any religious category. They refuse to wear the “label of any organized religion.”
To all of the people who dislike being labeled as a part of organized religion, here’s your ideal solution. Obey the gospel through faith, repentance, confession and baptism, and become a member of the Lord’s church. Wear only one name, the name God ordained his children to wear: Christian (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Having obeyed the gospel, you’ll be added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47).
Having been added to the Lord’s church, you’ll never have to wear a human name or belong to a human institution. You’ll never have to slavishly obey a human creed or repeat someone’s mindless ritualistic nonsense.
You’ll be a child of God. A Christian.
The apostle Paul didn’t think he “had it made” as a Christian. He was always “pressing toward the mark” (Philippians 3:14), forgetting the past and looking forward to the future (Philippians 3:13). If we are to be successful as followers of Christ, we must do the exact same thing, remembering that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul’s attitude of heart was “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
After our Bible class last evening, I heard one of our elders state during the invitation, “There are no Sunday only Christians – we must be Christians every day of the week.” It’s very true. Some members come to church on Sunday morning, offer their worship to God, live like the devil the rest of the week, and then come to worship the next Sunday to appease their conscience. True Christianity doesn’t work that way. It’s either all or nothing (Matthew 6:24).
The last compliment someone paid me? A few months ago, a lady at work told me that she appreciated the good Christian example that I was setting before her and others. When a non-Christian tells you that, you know you are letting your light so shine before men, accomplishing good for the Lord’s glory (Matthew 5:14-16).
The Montana Street congregation consists of approximately 160 Spanish speaking brethren. They are assisting in the support of various works in Juarez, Mexico, one of those works being a preacher’s training school. There are about 30 native Mexican men presently enrolled in that school. We are also helping to support Brother Bontha Esudas’ work in India: http://www.churchofchristindia.com/.
Additionally, we help provide food and monies for the Lakeview Christian home in Carlsbad, NM, and we produce a weekly television ministry, covering El Paso County and the surrounding area.
A spiritual task that I dread? If I were a preacher, preaching at a funeral would be the spiritual task that I would dread, especially if the deceased was not a Christian. Since I’m not a preacher, I really don’t have a spiritual task that I dread. Working for the Lord is all good!