Do you “live in the past?” “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NKJV). When we have only good memories about the past, we (1) have faulty memories, and (2) probably haven’t learned much. Life is a great teacher, but lessons come from both good and bad. “Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:10 NKJV). It is important to know that “God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15 NKJV). Christians have learned that “we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3 NKJV). Good people don’t want to go back! This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
The Apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached to the Jews in Jerusalem that “Jesus of Nazareth” had been: “delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:22-24 NKJV). We can read, study, and learn the lessons of the cross of Jesus Christ. No re-enactment can adequately portray it. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26 NKJV). But no one should hate the Romans for doing it! Love Jesus for the memory. History is not to promote hate, but to learn.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.
However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.
When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.
I. God takes humble people and makes them great. Judges 6:11-12
II. Those who chase the things of the world will be discouraged. Judges 7:20-23.
III. We must do God’s will no matter the odds. Judges 7:7, 12, 20-21.
IV. The Country was in Quietness for 40 years. (and Isaiah 32:17; John 14:6).
(Yes, there are certainly more than just four points. But, aren’t they good points?)
My article today examines the Civil War and the lessons we can learn from that terrible conflict. We examine the effects of racism, prejudice, hatred and division.
The sesquicentennial of the Civil War began on April 12th. In the intervening years, have we learned the major lessons from the war? We can quickly say that we have, because we have not had another internal war on our own soil. Yet, our speedy answer may betray us.
The Civil War was not an isolated event occurring in a vacuum. It happened because of reasons and motivations. If we have the same attitudes today, even without engaging in combat, we have learned nothing.
As an avid student of the Civil War, I see many more lessons than I described in the article.
For example, on both sides of the conflict, completely unqualified men were given the responsibility to lead troops when they did not possess one iota of ability to do so. It was a hopeless situation for the troops and countless numbers of men died, as a result. Why were they installed as high officers? They were successful businessmen, so certainly they could lead troops. The folly of such a decision had fatal results.
The implications for the church are obvious. How many churches have installed men as elders simply because they were successful businessmen? These congregations overlooked the qualifications for a man to be an elder and made a political appointment, instead. The results, sadly, are the same. The army loses its way and people die.
Another lesson we learn from the Civil War is that without the proper tools, no Army can succeed. In the second half of the War, the Confederate troops were constantly in survival mode. They routinely ran out of supplies as the Union cut off their supply routes. In time, they were without shoes, clothes, food and weapons.
As God’s people, if we do not utilize the tools/weapons God has given to us, we will run out of supplies, as well. We will be defenseless if we fail to wear our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-17). We need the fruits of the Spirit and the lessons of God’s Word with us all the time. When we leave them behind, we haven’t a chance. Moreover, if the pulpit is bereft of Godly teaching and it is missing from our homes, then we find ourselves without any means to defend ourselves.
Finally, the Confederates fought with extraordinary courage and did things that they had no right to do with their emaciated bodies, tattered clothes and poor supplies. They fought with everything that they had. If we can separate ourselves from why they were fighting, they are an astonishing example or what courage, strength and resolve can accomplish.
We need that resolve as Christians because we face an Army that APPEARS to be an overwhelming foe. Naturally, there is a difference because we have the Lord fighting for us (Hebrews 13:5).
On the other hand, the Union Army suffered defeats in the beginning because they were overconfident and under-prepared. We can find ourselves in the same position if we do not arm ourselves with God’s Word. We must be humble before God, understanding our weaknesses, and committed to righteousness and evangelism. God’s grace and mercy cannot help us, if we try to fight Satan on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9). Allow God to empower you and fight ahead of you every day (Romans 12:1-2).
What other lessons can we remember?
King Saul and 3,000 of his men pursued David, the anointed son of Jesse. But, instead of David becoming Saul’s victim, it was the young man of Judah with Saul’s life in his hands.
David had two chances to kill Saul (1 Samuel 24 and 26), but didn’t. What can be learned from David’s actions?
1. Don’t listen to men. Listen to God (1 Samuel 24:1, 6; 26:1, 9). In both instances, Saul was stirred to pursue David and try to kill him by the voices of his men. David, on the contrary, would not listen to those who advised him to kill the king. Why do people listen to the voices of men instead of listening to God in the Bible? David realized Saul’s life belonged to God. He decided to let God deal with Saul in His way. Oh, how different our lives would be if we listened to God in His word!
2. Let God decide the important matters in your life. Saul took matters into his own hands, but David let God reign (1 Sam 24:11-12; 26:10-11). Children of God should realize God knows best and He should be trusted.
3. David’s actions drew blessings even from Saul who was trying to kill him (1 Samuel 24:16-17; 26:21, 25). David was, indeed, a man after God’s own heart. Shouldn’t our example be the same?
4. David did not want to bear the guilt for killing Saul. Are we bearing the heavy guilt for the sins we’ve committed? Jesus has the only solution — obedience to the gospel and a faithful life (Acts 22:16).