Today is my spiritual birthday It was 1971…

Today is my spiritual birthday. It was 1971, best I recall. (I have the certificate stashed away somewhere.) I’m grateful the Lord called me to his freedom. He has proved faithful. I pray I may as well.

#baptisms, #faithfulness, #spiritual-birthday

Not what we wanted to hear

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12.

Well, that’s not what we wanted to hear!

Here’s a description of the narrow road that few find, that Paul urges the young evangelist, Timothy, to travel. He begins Chapter 3 by describing the wide road that the many are on. It’s marked by “lovers of themselves, lovers of money … [those] without love … without self-control … lovers of pleasure … men of depraved minds” among many others. Continue reading

#faithfulness, #life-in-christ, #persecution

Remaining faithful through the “Bochim’s” of life

So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord.” (Judges 2:4-5)

The name Bochim (bo-keem’) means weeping, and in case you’ve never noticed, the children of Israel were well accustomed to shedding tears.

In the particular case mentioned above the children of Israel as a whole were on the verge of resting from war and enjoying the land that had been delivered into their hands. But this moment of great joy was preceded by a day of great pain. And for what reason? What were the words of the Lord’s Angel that had cut them so deeply? What was it that changed their shouts of triumph to shouts of grief? What led them to name a location as a reminder of their pain?

It was because they were told that their children would walk away from their God – from the God!

But despite the fact that their children would turn their sin hardened hearts away from the law and grace of God, give special note to what this generation of Israel did in the face of the dreadful news. They stayed near to the Lord with hearts wide open, refusing to sacrifice their faith for their family. In fact, they sacrificed to the God of Heaven and Earth – the God of their Hormah (devotion) and their Bochim (weeping). They remained faithful through this great time of weeping, this great “Bochim” moment of their life.

As I consider the lesson that this section of scripture contains I can’t help but think of the pain that still comes from watching a loved one walk away from God. It can be stifling. It can lead to a branding of certain days in our life as a “Bochim” that’s difficult to accept much less forget. But I believe whole-heartedly that the Lord understands. He knows the pain of loss! He acknowledges the difficulty that lies ahead. While living upon the Earth, the faithful will always face such hurtful faithlessness and we must be prepared for it.

As those who are closest to us make their own decisions concerning their relationship with God let us not forget that if we stay near to his side, if we remember the sacrifice that he offered for us, if we allow the Spirit of God to produce a faithfulness in our heart, soul, mind and strength that refuses to turn back, then God will take care of the tears that came from every “Bochim” moment in our life as we enjoy the privileges of the promised land.

Stay faithful to the Lord my brothers and sisters in Christ.

for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)

#faithfulness, #family, #parenting, #parenting-difficulties, #trials

Break the Easter egg — Did a church ever grow from an Easter celebration?

broken-easter-egg

I hate to rain on your parade. But all this talk about taking advantage of Easter, when some people may show up at church for this one time during the year (throw in Christmas if you like), sounds like a bunch of bunkum.

Did anyone ever convert to Christ from showing up in their Easter finest? Did any church suddenly grow from a fine Easter production? Did the Sunday after Easter suddenly swell with new members because an eldership and a preacher put on their Sunday best to impress the suddenly pious visitor? Continue reading

#discipleship, #easter, #faithfulness, #false-religion, #ritualism

Constantly looking to self, or constantly looking to him?

And after going without food for forty days and forty nights, he was in need of it. And the Evil One came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, give the word for these stones to become bread. But he made answer and said, It is in the Writings, Bread is not man’s only need, but every word which comes out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4 BBE)

Look to yourself! This was the Devil’s cry, challenge and critique. He wasn’t looking for a fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – he was looking for an abandonment of Matthew 6:33. And what failed against Jesus often overcomes us.

Self-denial is huge! How huge? This huge – Luke 9:23-25.

Self-denial looks to God. A task that’s not always so enjoyable for those of us who aren’t prepared. It can be downright scary because we’re not as ready to change as we thought we were. That is, until we look at Jesus, and keep looking at him. With Jesus the veil is removed and the load is lightened. With Jesus negative emotions are replaced with faith-filled emotions. With Jesus we see our self better – and we see how better off we are when we deny our self and confess him.

So the next time we’re challenged to “prove” something about our faith, we may want to stop and ask if our “proof” causes us to look to a reliance upon our self or to someone else beyond our self.

So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:22-27)

#challenges-of-discipleship, #faithfulness, #jesus, #reliance-upon-god, #self-denial

Changing our world, one person at a time

self-control-evangelismBy Charles Box — As Christians we should be thankful that we have government. Government is “the group of people who officially control a country.” As Christians a part of our prayers should be for government. Paul wrote by inspiration of God, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Government exists for three basic purposes. First, government exists to protect the sacredness of human life. We were made in the image of God and therefore human life is precious. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26-27) Early on in man’s history God showed the responsibility of government in protecting human life “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6) Continue reading

#charles-box, #evangelism, #faithfulness, #self-control

“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.

#christian-living, #example, #faithfulness, #family, #love, #obedience