Spiritual lessons from the birds

Cardinals

Nothing is more enjoyable to me than watching the birds at this time of the year. If possible I would have bird houses all over the yard. I especially love seeing the robins come to our yard. They are always the first birds to arrive, and I know that springtime is near. I always sing, “When the red, red, robin comes bob, bob, bobbing along…along.”

Red birds, or cardinals, are my favorite as shown in the above picture which I made, but I enjoy watching the bluebirds, and also find the hummingbirds fascinating.

I remember being with Doug’s brother, Charles, on one occasion, and I was fretting about needing to feed the birds. He said, “Now Genna, (that’s what he calls me), you know that those birds are going to be alright. God is going to take care of them.” Yes, I do know that and am reminded of his comment every time I look out and see the feeders empty.

Perhaps we can gain something from the Scriptures as we watch the birds at this time of the year, and anytime, really. Let’s look at this Scripture when we don’t value our worth very much. Matthew 10:31: “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

And when we are concerned about not having enough, or that our future may look bleak, let us think about these Scriptures.

Matthew 6:25-27:  “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Luke 12:24: “Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!”

And when we feel we are all alone, and nobody cares for us, let us remember this Scripture. Luke 12:6-7; “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” And remember Matthew 10:29; “But not even one of those little birds can die without your Father knowing it.” ESV.

There is much beauty and comfort to gain from watching the birds.

#practical-lessons

What does the Bible say about life’s burdens

By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

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#practical-lessons, #wisdom

My brother Hoyt Williams passed away Friday March…

My brother, Hoyt Williams, passed away Friday, March 6. His funeral was Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Union Springs, AL. I really hated to give him up. All I am left with are memories. I wrote a poem while thinking of him the day before he died. It was posted earlier on this site.

When Herschel, my other brother, suffered a stroke and was in the hospital in Dothan, Doug and I were visiting him when Hoyt and Ella came in. They had driven well over an hour to get to Dothan. I said, “I’m so glad you came.” Hoyt replied, “It was the thing to do.” I’ve been thinking a lot about his statement, “It was the thing to do,” this week.

In life we have occasions to do many things. Some we will want to do, and some we had rather not do, but because it is the thing to do we push on and make ourselves do them.

A student may be facing a test in school. Studying is necessary to pass the test. Because it is the thing to do, the student makes himself study.

A friend may be in the hospital or nursing home and we need to go visit them. We think we don’t have time to visit the hospital, and we don’t enjoy going to nursing homes, but because it is the thing to do, we push and do it anyway.

We have to “step up to the plate” and do things that are out of our comfort zone, things that we rather not do sometimes, because it is the thing to do.

Reading the Bible regularly is hard for some people. They say they can’t understand it and can’t remember what they read. Paul writing to Timothy told him to study to show himself approved unto God. The more we read the Bible, the easier it is to understand. We do it because it is the thing to do if we want to learn more about Jesus and His will for our lives.

Attending church services faithfully is hard for some people, but it should be done because it is the thing to do. Taking part as a leader in the worship service often takes people out of their comfort zone, but it should be done because it is the thing to do. The church depends upon Christian leaders.

Obeying the Lord and identifying with the church makes others know whose side we are on. It should be done because it is the thing to do. We need to be happy to tell others we are a member of the church of Christ.

We need to do all the good we can, to as many as we can, for as long as we can…because it is the thing to do. Jesus said, “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

What will you do this week because it is “the thing to do?”

#practical-lessons

How to avoid taking preeminence in the kingdom of God

A denominational study site required extra confirmation for comments, and I refused to jump through that extra hoop. So you get these comments on their study for today here on TFR, answering specifically one of their “To Ponder” questions. Feel free to use the comments below in any form you’d like (except online, where etiquette demands a link). Continue reading

#christian-service, #humility, #practical-lessons

The Bible IS a “Christian Evidence” Textbook!

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is based upon “evidence” and it is a solid conviction of “things not seen.” Since “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), then the best “evidence” for faith is “the word of God” and the Creator’s Wisdom to which it points!  If not, why not?

The Bible makes statements that point to external data, and that makes it a “Christian evidence” textbook. For example:

  1. Every effect must have an adequate cause. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4); “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1);

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).    All scientific evidences and facts prove that matter is not eternal and must have had a beginning. The Bible begins with one of the strongest proofs possible that there had to have been The Creator: from nothing came something caused by The Power (“God”) who is the uncaused First Cause!

  1. There is magnificent design and order to life. 

    Jesus pointed to the inherent order in agriculture when He said: “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”  (Mark 4:28-29)

Such order is impossible without the imposition of law from a Higher Power.

Speaking of the intricacies of human development and birth, David said: “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”    (Psalm 139:13-16)

The millions of details involved in each human’s normal birth are mind-boggling, and faith-building, indeed. The birth of one human demands an imposing attention to details totally impossible without completing the plan of God, the Maker.

Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder [Greek, “technician, craftsman”] and maker [Greek, “framer”] is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Truly, the “technology” of life is impossible and nonsensical without the All-powerful, All-intelligent Creator God!

  1. Life cannot/has not/will not come from non-living matter. It is the “God, who made the world and everything in it…gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:24-25). There is no construction of material substance that has been brought to life without adding some living components to the experiment. Scientific fact shows that life had to be added to the material earth from an outside source in order for anything living to exist.  It is only prejudiced ignorance that would attack Christian faith without dealing with what the Bible, itself, says!

Atheism Equals Ignorance

Speaking of “prejudiced ignorance,” one readily thinks of an “atheist,” a word meaning, “without faith in deity,” hence a person who is without faith in God. No one can be an atheist without denying all the evidence for God’s existence and the scientific conclusion that necessitates it as fact. In other words, atheists are known for what they confess they do not or cannot know. “Ignorance” is defined as “the absence of knowledge.” It is practically impossible, then, for any atheist to ridicule a believer’s “faith” because a Bible-believer has evidence for that faith, but an atheist has reduced his or her intelligence to denial! The evidence for God is so abundant that an atheist can believe there is no God only by closing his/her mind to the factual evidence that would prove otherwise! Atheists have a big void throughout their core intellect, and are as Gentiles, “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart…” (Ephesians 4:17-18).

By willfully omitting God from their consideration, the Atheists have “blacked out” their understanding, “gutted” their rationality, and grope about like blind people who have rejected any assistance they have been offered! Belief in God is a normal conclusion of a natural mind that has been given all the evidence.

Atheism is, thus, an unnatural response.

Since God does exist, then His power as Creator justifies His power to: (1) define marriage as one man and one woman united for life (Genesis 2:18-25), and accept no other (Mark 10:2-12); (2) give a day of rest to the Israelites in Moses’ Law (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) and not to anyone else; (3) be remembered in our days of youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1), not just “old age;” (4) come to earth as the Christ with total miraculous power over the Creation (John 1:1-18) unlike everyone else who has ever lived; (5) hand over the scroll of judgment against the Jews into the hand of His Son (Revelation 4:1-5:8) which was carried out in the 1st Century. Since God, as Creator, can do with His Creation as He wishes (“our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases,” Psalm 115:3); and, since no human is Creator (God asked: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,” Job 38:4); then all humans who are created beings (“creature,” Mark 16:15-16) will fail to conquer and control the world! There is no policy, people, or plan that God will allow to take His place as Controller of His Creation (Romans 1:19-25). “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).                                —–John T. Polk II

#bible-study, #evidence, #existence-of-god, #god, #practical-lessons, #proof, #textbook, #truth, #wisdom

(#208) The Proverbs of Solomon Proverbs 31:1-3-Listen to Your Mama About Women

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 31:1-3: “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him: 2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.”

Verse 1: These have been the Proverbs of Solomon: for his son (Chapters 1-9); for his people (Chapters 10-24); for his legacy (Chapters 25-29); for his influence (Chapters 30-31). The Book of Proverbs began with a father instructing his son, and ends in this last chapter with the mother’s wise words, or “hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8).

Verse 2: Almost asking: “What can I say for the best benefit for my son, my flesh and blood?”

“Son of my womb” refers to the closeness of the mother-son bond, for she was his home before he was born.

“Son of my vows” can refer to the legitimate son born after marriage vows of his parents (Malachi 2:14), or to parental commitment to raise the child “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

In any case, these words should be regarded as precious to a beloved son.

Verse 3: Two serious warnings against ways that destroy every man’s life: disrespect for marriage and disregard for authority.

To not “give your strength to women” is a major theme in Proverbs (2:16-22; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27; 9:13-18). Examples of what not to do are found in Samson (Judges 13-16), David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12), and Solomon, himself (1 Kings 11). Sexual satisfaction (“strength”) should be reserved only for one’s own wife (Proverbs 5:15-20).

“That which destroys kings” refers to subversive and violent methods of destroying respect for civil authority, “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). Moses recognized this danger (Deuteronomy 31:26-27); King Saul (1 Samuel 15:22-24); Barabbas (Mark 15:7). Solomon had said: “An evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11), and Jesus said: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). It is never wrong to insist that rulers abide by God’s rules (the Bible) and the laws of the land (Constitution) which restricts their “authority” (as Libertarians insist), but it is wrong to advocate no authority (as Libertines claim)!

Men, listen to a godly mother!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #marriage, #mother, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rebellion, #wisdom, #women

(#206) The Proverbs of Solomon 30:29-31-Walk the Royal Walk

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 30:29-31: “There are three things which are majestic in pace, Yes, four which are stately in walk: A lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any; A greyhound, A male goat also, And a king whose troops are with him.”

Walking regally is an indication of inner confidence and fearlessness. Regality is born out of security, violence from hatred and fear. There is a reason for these four to illustrate “majestic pace” which Christians, especially, should add to their lives:

“A lion” because of strength and power. As our “adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), so the wicked “have closed up their fat hearts; With their mouths they speak proudly. They have now surrounded us in our steps; They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth, As a lion is eager to tear his prey, And like a young lion lurking in secret places (Psalm 17:10-12). Those who follow God should have every reason to be secure. “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26); “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1); “But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict (1 Thessalonians 2:2). Christians must realize that we are to “abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).

“A greyhound” because of speed and agility. God hates “feet that are swift in running to evil” (Proverbs 6:18), but faithful followers of God, who are “swift to hear” (James 1:19), often receive help from Him quickly. “In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me” (Psalm 86:7); Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You” (Psalm 143:7-8); “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

“A male goat” because of place and leadership. A man was created first (1 Timothy 2:13), and should be the leader of righteousness in his home (Ephesians 5:22-24). Those who refuse this God-given responsibility are rejected by God. “For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, But His secret counsel is with the upright” (Proverbs 3:32).

“A king” because of trust and loyalty. “If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them” (Ecclesiastes 5:8). All government officials should take care to rule with righteousness, lest their enemies come from within.

These four illustrations give a “majestic” walk to the faithful. “You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:11). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #god, #majestic, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #walk