Know for certain

Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. (2 Kings 5:12 ESV)

разве Авана и Фарфар, реки Дамасские, не лучше всех вод Израильских? разве я не мог бы омыться в них и очиститься? И оборотился и удалился в гневе. (4-я Царств 5:12 Russian)

O LORD my God of salvation for all people on earth ~ dear Father in heaven, hear the praise and thanksgiving from my heart on this new day. Calm the fears and trembling emotions of your people who live in dangerous situations where world rulers are opposed to the doctrine of Christ our Lord. Give wisdom clear as a ringing bell to everyone in leadership among local churches. Help all Christians to know for certain that your gracious way of salvation through obedient faith is positively the only sure way from earth to eternal life. Give courage to all who preach with sincere love for truth and lost souls. Elevate your inspired word that contains truth that cannot be diminished even though millions of so-called scholars teach otherwise. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley #courage

Moral strength and courage

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals may not find out anything that will come after them. (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NRSV)

В благополучные дни будь счастлив, а в дни горестные знай: и то, и другое сотворил Бог, чтобы человек не мог постичь того, что будет после него. (Екклесиаст 7:14 NRT)

O LORD God Almighty ~ thank you for making me aware of your active presence in the mundane affairs of humanity. Bless your people of faith who live in various nations with different languages and skin complexions. Give all faithful Christians moral strength and courage to continue fighting the good fight of faith in a world that is increasingly bereft of true faith. Bring a revival of faith among all leaders so that we will be thankful for all circumstances of this life. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley #courage

Many people: Acts 18.9-10 VOTD

“The Lord said to Paul by a vision in the night, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, because I am with you, and no one will assault you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.'”

Acts 18.9-10

Because of the Lord’s revelation, Paul stayed a year and six months in Corinth.

We need courage to speak, because the Lord has many people yet to be saved.

#courage #evangelism #VOTD

Hugh’s News & Views (Spina Absentia)

SPINA ABSENTIA

(Note: Rarely do I run an essay written by someone other than myself. I can remember only one or two instances in which I have done so. The essay this week was written by my friend David Tant of Roswell [Greater Atlanta], GA. I commend it to all for our thoughtful consideration.)

According to my 9th Grade Revised Latin, the title means “NO BACKBONE.” Physically, this devastates the body, making it impossible to function. This is tragic. But more tragic is spiritual “spina absentia.” This “spinelessness” is too common in the Lord’s body, and we need the “Great Physician” to stiffen the backbone so that the function of the body of Christ might not be impaired. Consider some of the disease’s symptoms.

FAILURE TO DISCIPLINE INFLUENTIAL MEMBERS – Many denominations are reluctant to practice discipline, for this may cause them to lose money, members and popularity. But could it be that some of us (in the Lord’s church, hf) have the same thinking? There are churches where influential members are guilty of flagrant sins, and nothing is done about it. Elders’ relatives, rich folks, preachers’ children, etc., are winked at in their sin because of a “don’t rock the boat” attitude. If such is not a “respect of persons,” and therefore a sin (James 2:1-9), then what is it? Continue reading

#courage, #hughfulford, #spinelessness

Have you been to Jesus?

In Acts 4, we read of the account of two men standing before the religious leaders of the day, an occasion that was not taken lightly by any that were involved when such a thing like this occurred. The religious leaders not only had moral force, but they could apply a heavy dose of peer pressure, even criminal indictment when the situation demanded it. Acts 4, from their perspective, was such an occasion.

There was some murmuring going on amongst the people, and when they learned about it, those in charge arrested those guilty of causing this disturbance (that is, Peter and John). The disturbance was only in relation to the healing of a man lame since his birth, but the troubling aspect of this disturbance was in direct relation to Jesus, God’s anointed (chosen) one, one who was actually rejected by many of the Jewish people. Rejected as he was, they killed an innocent man.

Still fresh on their minds, the man Jesus and that which He taught, they resolved: “This has to stop!”

After having been arrested, the Lord’s servants were standing before those in judicial authority, being called to give an account of what they did and why. Peter and John stood tall. They gave a direct answer, and then a pertinent application for them (those in authority and the whole community): the authority by which they operated was the same authority they rejected and killed. One day they were going to stand before Him and be judged. This was impressive and insulting to those making inquiry (Acts 4:13). Continue reading

#courage, #life-in-christ

God protects his own

A great lesson in Matthew 2 is that God protects his own. The Lord frustrated Herod’s attempts to kill the newborn Jesus.

He warned the wise men by means of a dream not to return to Herod, but to go back by another way. “But God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they returned to their country on a different road” Mt 2.12 NIRV.

The Lord’s angel also appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt, in order to get away from Herod, Mt 2.13. Continue reading

#confidence, #courage, #divine-protection, #evil

Be of good courage

Via Audio Evangelism:

I once read about a man who bragged about cutting off a lion’s tail with his pocketknife. Sounds pretty courageous, doesn’t it? Do you think you could do that? Of course, someone finally asked the man why he didn’t cut the lion’s head off, and he replied that someone had already done that! What initially sounded like a very courageous act really wasn’t anything at all–the lion was already dead!

Today, I’d like us to focus our attention on the subject of courage–genuine courage–specifically as it relates to living the Christian life. First, we need to remember that… (click here to continue reading the post.)

#audio-evangelism, #bible-characters, #christian-living, #courage

August 2014 Issue of Christian Worker

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • What Is Marriage? What Constitutes Marriage? (Robert R. Taylor, Jr)
  • Has the Kingdom Come? (Sam Willcut)
  • “Buy the Truth and Sell It Not” (Royce Williamson)
  • Watching the Pendulum (Glenn Colley)
  • “Living Oracles” (Mel Futrell)
  • Some Things Must Never Change (Jeff Jenkins)
  • Is It Nothing to You? (Alan Highers)
  • Behind Closed Doors (Steve Higginbotham)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2014 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-worker, #courage, #culture-wars, #evangelism, #false-teachers, #kingdom-of-god, #marriage, #oracles-of-god, #pdf, #timeless, #truth

One Thing I Do Know

In John 9, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath Day. Since he had been blind since birth, what a joyous, life-changing moment this must have been, right? But unfortunately, one of the first things his newly functioning eyes witnessed was Pharisees descending upon him like hounds on a trapped coon. They had an agenda and the man and his parents knew it, so they felt like they were walking on thin ice answering their questions. To them, this wonderful gift of sight from Jesus may have appeared to be a curse at first. Typical of life–when you obtain something worth rejoicing about, there’s somebody there trying to drain all the joy out of it for you.

About the 4th time they came to him asking him what happened, they began basically by trying to bully him into calling Jesus a sinner. His response is one of my favorite verses. It was profound in its simplicity: “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” He didn’t yet know that Jesus was the Messiah; he hadn’t been told much about Jesus at all, and he didn’t go trying to fabricate an answer. He just told them what he knew, which was enough for both parties to make a choice. Might we learn from this that we don’t have to be experts before we tell people about Jesus.

Lord, thank You for providing the account of Jesus and this blind man. Grant us the integrity to admit what we don’t know, the courage to speak what we do, and the wisdom to let the truth guide our thoughts, words, and actions.

#blind-man, #courage, #healed, #jesus, #john-9, #pharisees

Queen Esther and Brusselsprouts

===== Thursday’s Thought For The Day (July 11, 2013) =====

IF I PERISH, I PERISH

The young people in one church had been studying the Book of Esther. It was obviously that one boy had been paying attention when his family had Brussels sprouts for supper. Spearing one and looking at it distastefully, he placed it in his mouth, saying, “If I perish, I perish.”

The story of Esther is one of the greatest stories of courage in the Bible.

When Mordecai realized that there was a plot to kill the Jews in Persia, he saw only one possibility to save them, and that was through Esther. He asked Esther to go before the king and request that he rescind the decree and save the Jewish people. But Esther was hesitant to do that because there was a law that said that anyone who went into the king’s court without an invitation could be put to death, and she hadn’t been invited for a month!

Mordecai sent another message to Esther that said, in effect, “Think, Esther. The decree says all Jews. It doesn’t exclude anybody in the king’s household. You are a Jew and that means you’ve already been condemned to death. If the king receives you, you’ve got a chance. But even if he doesn’t, you’re no worse off.”

One of the most powerful verses in all the Bible is found in verse 14. It’s a question that I believe every Christian should ask himself when he’s facing a difficult situation: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

“Esther, have you ever thought that maybe this is the reason why God put you in the position of being queen? Did you think he did it just so you could have an easy life? This is the reason God has brought you where you are. Your presence in the palace is not by accident but by divine appointment.”

The time had come for Esther to make a choice. She could approach the king and possibly lose her life, or she could remain silent and allow the annihilation of herself and her people. She decided to stand for what was right. And with the heroic words, “If I perish, I perish!” (4:16), she went to the king.

Has God put you in a position to make a difference to the people around you? Like Esther, will you have the courage to respond, regardless of what the consequences may be?

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

To subscribe to “Thought For the Day,” send a blank email to join-thought-for-the-day@hub.xc.org

#courage, #make-a-difference

Jeremiah Tries To Save His People

This month has been about courageous love. We have tried to connect the fact that when we love, we are compelled to have the courage to risk ourselves for the benefit of those we love.

Christ’s entire ministry was conducted with the risk (certainty in His case) that his loving but courageously firm actions would lead to his death. That death was for the world, yet would only spiritually benefit the few who would take advantage of it.

Our text for today is Jeremiah 36:1-32. God had warned Jeremiah that his work and teaching would not be well received. In Jeremiah 1:10 that he would root out, pull down, destroy and throw down before he could build up and plant. Knowing his work would not be well received, the Lord told him in Jeremiah 1:16 to “gird up thy loins, speak what I command thee and be not dismayed at their faces…”

There was no question about the courage of Jeremiah as he carried out the work of the Lord which led to his imprisonment (Jer. 37:4), his forced removal from Jerusalem and some scholars say that he died at the hands of his brethren.

What I am interested in is the love of Jeremiah for these people who treated him so badly.

As his love led him to pray on their behalf, God told him not to pray for this people (Jer. 14:11). As he sent the scroll to be read that would send him to prison, his thought was that it might bring them to repentance (Jer. 1:7).

Brothers and sisters, courageous love does the difficult work of the Lord with the prayer and hope that it will bring men to repentance. Whether we are teaching the lost, restoring the erring or disciplining the rebellious, our love and courage go together.

Mike Glenn

#courage, #jeremiah, #love, #youth

Courageous Abigail

The story of Abigail recorded in 1 Samuel 25:1-44 is shared with many children because of her courage and loyalty to her husband. I think that there might be one or two items we can learn about courageous love from this event.

• Love is not always about a good feeling, but it is always about commitment. Apparently, Nabal was not a man who evoked good feelings toward himself from others. It seems that he was crude, self-centered, and inhospitable. Yet, Abigail, as his wife, kept her commitment to his well-being. Courageous love reaches out and is persistent in striving to do the best even when the recipient of that love does nothing to deserve such care or compassion.

• A second thing we learn here is that courageous love acts without hesitation. When we have chosen to love, that commitment becomes part of us. Our mind, emotions, and body, without a second thought, move to perform whatever action is needed. Jesus died for us in anticipation of the our salvation (Heb. 12:2-3).

• A third lesson is that courageous love does not consider self when others have a need. Abigail had no certainty that David would respond graciously to her pleas. She was willing to sacrifice herself in her efforts. When we act with such love to defend God’s people, or to teach the lost, we do not know the reaction we may receive. But we are willing to accept the possible consequences in order to achieve the right. Jesus taught this very idea in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:10-12).

Let’s each of determine to have courageous love. The wounds from a friend are true and faithful.

Sent by email today from Mike Glenn, in his series for youth

#abigail, #courage, #love, #old-testament

Stick your neck out

He was told that if he hadn’t written a book by the age of 35, chances were that he never would– and he was almost 40! He was warned that short stories weren’t popular or considered for top prizes– yet his won the Pulitzer Prize! Hollywood told him his book held no dramatic possibilities and Broadway said it would never make a good musical.

Would you have given up? Would you have washed the whole idea right out of your hair? Or would you have hung in there and written Tales of the South Pacific as James Michener did?

It’s easy to be negative. It’s easy to criticize and say “Here’s what might go wrong.” But positive people and dreamers accomplish “miracles”. They persevere. They overcome the challenges (what some call “problems”).

I once read of a college president who had a plaque on his desk that read: “Behold the turtle. He never makes any progress unless he sticks his neck out.”

The next time you feel challenged say ‘yes’. The next time God gives you a dream, go for it! “Stick your neck out” for Jesus and the Kingdom of God! The next time may be your last opportunity to glorify God – not because you have lots of courage, but because you can still trust Him.

–Edited from an article by Dan Skaggs

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#courage, #faith, #patience, #perserverance, #positive-thinking

Politics Versus Reality and Christianity

Dr. Thomas Sowell has another masterful column about politics and the economy today. He makes more salient points that Americans need to consider. His premise is that we cannot use reality to understand politicians, because they most often act contrary to all normal conventions.

He writes:

It is hard to understand politics if you are hung up on reality. Politicians leave reality to others. What matters in politics is what you can get the voters to believe, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not.

Not only among politicians, but also among much of the media, and even among some of the public, the quest is not for truth about reality but for talking points that fit a vision or advance an agenda. Some seem to see it as a personal contest about who is best at fencing with words.

He discusses some examples such as taxes on the rich. There is solid, verifiable proof of what happens when you cut taxes or raise taxes on the rich. Yet, Sowell writes, they do not care at all about these statistics, only their talking points. If it doesn’t fit the script, it must go. They must always choose emotion/popularity over reason and facts.

I realized that this is a good way to understand the current state of Christianity in America. Those who falsely call themselves Christians have their own talking points and they will push them with all of their abilities. If they conflict with what Scripture says, they will choose emotion/popularity every time.

For example, there is not one example or iota of proof in the New Testament that infant baptism is Scriptural. Yet, millions persist in this doctrine out of tradition. They get angry if you point out their fallacy and treat you like you are a heathen. They can’t allow facts to get in the way.

On so many doctrines, the will of God –like the will of the people to politicians–carry no weight when compared to popularity and filling their coffers –or getting re-elected.

We just have to continue to study and proclaim the Word (2 Timothy 4:2) and stand for truth in every way. We cannot succumb to the fleshly ideal that man’s will trumps God’s because we can’t bear to face the former.

Let us ALWAYS exist in the reality that God’s will is the only one that matters. Outside of His reality, there is only fantasy and death. Only in Christ will we find life and truth (John 10:10).

#courage, #politics, #reality, #truth

Daily Nudge: your persecution

Maybe we’re asking for a bunch of no-replies today, we’ll see. Have you ever been persecuted, or otherwise made fun of, because of your faith? Tell us about it, what happened, the situation, what you were doing.

Persecution is the norm in some places, happens on and off in others, but in some places, hardly at all.

Jesus said it would happen, Paul, too, not necessarily from governments, but from family. Then, let’s not forget persecution from religious people. Yes, it happened then, too. At the beginning of the Way, the Jews persecuted Christians.

The subject is on my mind, since we read Acts 7 yesterday, and are to read Acts 8 today.

I do not pray that God will spare you. I pray he will give you strength and courage to continue doing his will and evangelizing in the midst of it.

#courage, #nudge, #persecution, #religious-conflicts