Who saw the handwriting on the wall?

Our adult Bible-study class has been studying Daniel 5 (Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall incident) the last couple of weeks. It’s a good study that leads to several topics: the authority of God, the relationship between religion and politics, holiness, pride, humility, and judgment to name several.

While studying the first half of the chapter a new thought occurred to me. Perhaps you have had the same thought…perhaps not. The thought concerned the actual handwriting incident.

Through the years I have seen several illustrations… Continue reading

#art, #bible-study, #book-of-daniel, #influence

Influence of the world

A gospel preacher posted the following to a discussion group. We’ve left off names.

Each November, our congregation puts up a “thankful tree” on a wall. Over the course of several weeks members are invited to write on a paper leaf something or someone they are thankful for. They don’t have to sign their leaves.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we have a devotional rather than regularly scheduled Bible classes.

We sing various hymns and chorus of praise and thanksgiving. We pray. We have a congregational reading of Psalm 107 interspersed between the songs. And we have our elders read from the leaves at four different points in the devotional.

This year, one leaf I did not have read aloud made the following comment: Continue reading

#focusfschallenge, #influence, #thanksgiving, #world

Don’t let outsiders make you discontent with God’s provisions

Saints sometimes find it difficult enough, among themselves, to keep from complaining. They must beware that the world may influence their spirits greatly, causing them to fall by being discontent with God’s provisions. Many in our midst who claim to be saints are actually “foreign rabble” who bring in other ideas and, in order to insert their preferences, show unhappiness with the truth of the gospel. Continue reading

#complaining, #discontent, #gratitude, #influence, #worship

A lot of church members believe that when…

A lot of church members believe that when they’ve gone to church on Sunday, they have done their job as far as being a Christian is concerned. But the truth is that is a very small part of following Jesus. Everywhere we go and all-of-the-time we are either lifting up the name of Jesus to those we meet or we are treading it underfoot. At the work place as well as the church house, we are watched. At a restaurant, at a ball-game, waiting in line at a grocery store, wherever we are, we leave an impression for good or ill. The way we answer the phone, the way we speak to a waitress, the patience we show in heavy traffic, the kindness shown to a child, the sensitivity we give to a patient; all of this speaks louder than an hour we spend at worship. I’m not saying Sunday is unimportant. I am saying that Monday through Saturday count, too. You may be the only Bible many folks will ever read. What will others learn when they read your life? This is Just-A-Minute.

#example, #influence, #just-a-minute

Bible words that will stay in our Culture

Even though the western culture is desperate to get rid of important Bible words like sin, Jesus and judgment there are Bible words that will remain despite the best efforts of some to rid them from our vocabulary.

For example, a handful of miles away from where I live there is a community called “Goshen.” Now why would a little community in the heart of Tennessee be named after a piece of land in Africa? Read Genesis 45:9-11 to find out.

For another example, toward the top of the nation there is a prominent city named Saint Paul. Now even though the Beatles (or at least one of them) thought that they were bigger than Jesus, the city up in Minnesota has nothing to do with one of its members. So who is Saint Paul? He’s this guy.

Another example, and it’s a big one, is our calendar. Yup, I said our calendar. Whenever anyone in the western culture refers to a history timeline, a present date or a future appointment they are using a time line that revolves around the appearance of the Man who doesn’t change with time. And who’s that? He’s the one we mean whenever someone says B.C. and A.D.. And even if one ignores the initials, they can’t ignore the dividing line.

People can plug their ears, cover their eyes and refuse to speak of the Bible’s purpose or existence, but they won’t be able to ignore the Bible words that remind them that it was and forever will be the God of Heaven who has blessed and shaped our culture. From small communities, to large cities and right down to the dates that they were established, as long as there is a western culture, our culture will depend upon Bible words.

#bible-words, #culture, #god, #influence

You May Never See Your Effect Here

I had a chance to actually sit down yesterday after all the family-to-do things were over, and while doing so I caught about the last half of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV. I don’t believe there are very many movies out there that capture the point that the movie makes – that being, you just never know how much of an effect you may be having on others for the better!

Sometimes it’s easy to get down when it comes to our outlook on life and the effectiveness that we may think we’re having on others as we work within and without of the church. A snail’s pace sometimes sounds like an improvement! Things can feel woefully mundane and monotonous. Our world can feel too small and our grasp on things too weak. And it seems like there are two hills to climb for every one to walk down…you know, the old “up hill both ways” story that all of a sudden feels like non-fiction.

But the truth of the matter is that the light is being seen and the salt is being tasted as long as we’re out there mixing it up and leaving off the basket, bushel and shade. Small things do make big differences, and there are people who love us, care for us, appreciate us, and need us. It may not always feel like it but feelings aren’t the deciding factor – actions are! Yes life will always go on, but on to what is the question.

Also keep in mind that the things that we do may not have an effect on the person we’re directly dealing with as much as it may the next person that they’ll be dealing with. Think of it like dominoes with a positive spin. Domino number three needs domino number one as much they needed domino number two! So just because you don’t see how you’re making a difference doesn’t mean that you’re not.

when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

#effectiveness, #encouragement, #faith, #influence

Leaving Our Mark

Most people are interested in leaving a mark on their friends, family, community, nation or even the world. They want their personality to be seen. They want their ideas to be heard. They want to be remembered for what they have done, how it was done and why it was done.

God’s word encourages His people to leave a mark too – but not our own. We’re encouraged to leave the mark of Jesus upon the hearts and minds of those around us. Whether or not we’re remembered by what we do, how we do it and why it was done doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether or not Jesus is remembered through it.

We’re called to leave our mark as Christians. Simple enough. Not as a man, a woman, a Jew or a gentile nationality per say (Galatians 2:36-37, Ephesians 2:14-18), but as a person who lived in the body of Christ, for the body of Christ and with the body of Christ.

When one lives for his or her self the mark that is left behind may last a while but it won’t last eternally, and in the meanwhile the one who lives for Jesus leaves behind a mark that is not always seen by the world but it will remain for the rest of time and then some!

At the end of the day, whether or not we leave a mark upon others depends upon what has left a mark upon us.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:15-17 – NKJV)

#christianity, #influence, #leaving-our-mark, #living-faith