mm

11-28-2016 Why Do Good People Suffer?

Many a self-professed “atheist,” in a fit of inflated ego, will ask, “If there is a god, why does he let good people suffer?”   Job, however, amidst his heap of personal losses, asked, “Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power?” (Job 21:7 NKJV). Job then lists how the “wicked” seem to live with life’s blessings (Job 21:8-13) without God: “Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’” (Job 21:14-15 NKJV). Job answers with: “For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath” (Job 21:30 NKJV).  Good people suffering or wicked people prospering are not settled in life, but God’s Judgment will!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#atheist, #ego, #good-people-suffer

A minister without the “title”

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10 – NKJV)

God isn’t impressed with titles. Titles bring responsibility (James 3:1) but they don’t get the work finished.

People crave titles but God wants us to crave His work (Titus 2:14, 3:8; Galatians 4:18; 1 Timothy 3:1; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16).

Liberals love to praise people who have pushed the envelope for titles for they equate titles with “equality” in the church. God praises people who work in His name and in His will, for He equates equality with being in Jesus and working within the bounds of the body of Christ (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:3).

Conservatives love to praise people who have held firm to tradition for they equate tradition alone with working God’s will. God praises people who work within the tradition of the church’s faith through love, for God refuses to accept service done in His name if it’s not done in His will (Galatians 5:5-6; Romans 12:1-3).

Let’s stick to the middle of the road (or the middle of the channel) and start showing more of a concern for rowing the boat instead of where we sit in the boat. An oar moving in unison with another oar will get much more done than an oar trying to go solo not matter how big the solo oar thinks it is.

I may have gotten a little off track with the last three comments, but then again maybe not; either way let me bring it back to my original sentence: If we’re waiting around for a title to make our work have some sort of significance in the sight of man or in the sight of God then we’re not ready for that work – whatever the work is!

And by the way, try looking up what the word “minister” actually means if you don’t already know and you might get what I’m trying to say.

But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-12 – NKJV)

#christianity, #ego, #humility, #minister, #religion, #servant, #the-errors-of-division-within-the-church, #title, #work

Guest Article: Where’s Jesus? by Joshua Gulley

Here’s a good article that reminds us about the importance of feeding our faith over our ego and allowing God’s grace to accomplish what we could never earn.

Where’s Jesus? by Joshua Gulley

Luke 5:15-16 – “The news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would slip away to the wilderness and pray.”

Hold on a minute! I thought this was what Jesus’s job was—to spread the gospel of the kingdom of God, to heal people, to cast out demons, to raise people from the dead, to encourage, to do miracles, to teach, to exhort, to rebuke! You’re telling me that Jesus turned down opportunities to do the Lord’s work?! You mean they had a door-knocking event and He didn’t show up? You mean to tell me that there was a work camp going on and He skipped it? Are you trying to say that there was a revival meeting that night and He didn’t attend?

I’m being overly dramatic, of course. But the fact remains that there was good work available for the doing, and Jesus chose not to be there. How can this be so? I think Jesus had already learned a couple of things that take some experience to figure out—a couple of things that I understand in theory at this point of my life, but have not quite perfected in practice just yet.

First is that your own relationship with God has to be in proper order before anything else can be acceptable. There are always good things to be doing, but if we are always doing good things, we are not taking time to stay close to God ourselves.

Second is that overworking yourself is not good. There are several reasons for this, but the important one here is that when we are working all the time, we may be accomplishing a lot, but we may also be tempted to develop an unhealthy pride in the things we accomplish. I may knock on 500 doors and conduct 30 Bible studies and grade a thousand correspondence courses and mow a dozen yards and clean five gutters and visit 20 widows and carry 40 meals to the sick before I realize that by keeping up with my stats, I’m developing a “salvation by credit” kind of attitude. To twist Paul’s words a bit, I may give all my possessions to feed the poor and surrender my body to be burned, but without the blood of Jesus, none of that will get me to heaven. God is pleased with the good we accomplish as long as we keep in mind that He doesn’t need us to do it. He deserves every bit of our devotion, but ironically, that devotion can be misplaced and actually cause us to move away from God. “Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Paul perhaps captures it best in Ephesians 2:8-10. “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” We can’t let Satan guilt us into thinking we’ve got to do more, more, more. When you find yourself patting yourself on the back for something good you just did (boasting), then it’s time to go back to the other side of the semicolon to remember that salvation is a gift—not wages. Lord, help us know when it is time to slip away into the wilderness and pray. – Joshua Gulley

Josh is a member at the Smithville Church of Christ and a teacher of music at the High School level

#ego, #faith, #grace, #jesus, #rest, #salvation, #works

Big egos are big shields for lots of emp…

Big egos are big shields for lots of empty space.

Diana Black

#big, #ego, #empty, #shield, #space