Whatever you are doing

“Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3.23-24

Slavery was, and continues to be, one of the most difficult situations to deal with. But God has a word and a solution even for this.

If our reward comes from God, we must work and do our best, regardless of human conditions or relationships.

#votd #slavery #work

Did Paul Endorse Slavery?

Though Bible critics allege that Paul and other Bible writers endorsed slavery, they rarely (if ever) investigate the matter fairly. The fact is, Paul’s instruction for Christian slaves to honor their masters is perfectly consistent with the rest of God’s Word regarding all Christians submitting to those in positions of authority. What’s more, far from endorsing sinful slavery, Paul’s teachings, taken to their logical conclusion, would eventually lead truth-seeking slave owners and government officials to bring an end to any kind of cruel, sinful captivity. Read >>

#apologetics-press, #slavery, #the-apostle-paul


6-1-2016 Uprooting Slavery Roots

The fourth commandment of the Law of Moses said: “And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15 NKJV).  Though slavery to the Egyptians was in their past, God never told His people to hate, loathe and despise the Egyptians.  Rather, He gave Israelites a day of rest that they were not able to have in Egypt.  They were to remember their blessing after their slavery.  Contrast that with today’s wallowing in slavery of the past as though it were still happening!  “Roots” of past slavery should be uprooted, and people should be taught to appreciate where they are now.

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

#appreciate, #roots, #slavery


8-11-2015 The Israelites’ Example

God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, leading them through Moses. “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land(Hebrews 11:29 NKJV). The Apostle Paul said they “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:2 NKJV). But they refused to enter the Promised Land, and rebelled against God. Concerning those “twenty years old and above” (Numbers 14:29), God swore “that they would not enter His rest…who did not obey…So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18-19 NKJV). (1) No one was saved without being baptized; (2) Baptized believers could become unbelievers; (3) “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11 NKJV). No “once-saved-always saved” here!

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

#baptized, #israelites, #once-saved-always-saved, #rebelled, #slavery, #unbelievers


7-7-2015 Living In The Past

God said to the Edomites: “‘Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end, therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you’” (Ezekiel 35:5-6 NKJV). The atrocities of wars or the abuses of slavery can never be satisfied, but must be forgiven and forgotten to live in the present. Before worshiping God, Jesus said, “First be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24 NKJV). Obeying Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, would reconcile Jews with Germans, Muslims with Catholics, Japanese with Americans, and Afro-Americans with Euro-Americans!

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

#prince-of-peace, #reconcile, #slavery, #wars


(#48) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:26-Corrupt Commerce

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 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:26: “The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.”

It is bad business to withhold products that are needed. “Buy low and sell high” may be popular in the Stock Market, but in the marketplace, it loses future business! Companies, or individuals, who buy up needed products in “bad” times, in order to sell them at higher prices during “harder” times, not only incur the wrath of customers, but also the curse of God, Himself. In condemning corrupted Israel, God gave Amos a vision for those “who swallow up the needy, And make the poor of the land fail, Saying: ‘When will the New Moon be past, That we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, That we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, Falsifying the scales by deceit, That we may buy the poor for silver, And the needy for a pair of sandals-Even sell the bad wheat?’” (Amos 8:4-6). “Swallowing up the needy,” and “making the poor fail” describe business and/or governmental practices that slant economics away from hard work being rewarded with honest pay and profit. Those evil practices included: cutting product sizes with short scales, while increasing the price of the goods sold; making the “poor” go into such debt they are bought for “silver;” reducing them down to such need their price is the same as shoes; and selling them damaged goods! Today, this would be called “re-packaging,” “inflation,” “over-extended credit buying,” “depression economy,” and “selling expired goods.”

When the Israelites were returned to their Promised Land, fulfilling all prophecies on that subject, the “nobles’ and rulers’” practices were listed as: “For there were those who said, ‘We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.’ There were also some who said, ‘We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.’ There were also those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards’” (Nehemiah 5:2-5). When the leaders of a people, whether business or government, adopt practices or legislation that take unfair advantage of the hard-working families under their care, God will hold them accountable. James wrote: “Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” (James 5:4). Jesus Christ endorsed truth with: “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7); “he who reaps receives wages” (John 4:36); and Paul added to this with: “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” (Romans 4:4). Wages are earned, not given, and everything that is done to keep honest work from being rewarded with honest wages is against God’s Will!

Another proverb upholds this teaching: Proverbs 30:14: “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.”

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

#bible-study, #business, #corporation, #depression, #earned, #economy, #fraud, #government, #hard-times, #harder-times, #inflation, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #slavery, #tax, #wages


(#26) The Proverbs of Solomon Proverbs 10:13-15-Rich or Poor?

Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

10:13-14: A word to the wise: Words of the wise always show understanding. A word to the unwise: Talk your head off, and you’ll only show your lack of wisdom, and probably lose your argument and be given “a rod” (punishment). To “store up knowledge” (verse 14) means the wise will have a repository of wisdom to use whenever it is needed, while “near destruction” means the “foolish” always throw away wisdom in their words. This is a recurring contrast between the “lips” of the wise and unwise (foolish): 10:20-“choice silver” versus “worth little;” 10:21-“feeds many” versus “die for lack of wisdom;” 10:31-“brings forth wisdom” versus “tongue cut out;” 10:32-“know what is acceptable” versus “perverse mouth.” The words of a fool cannot provide for anyone, while words of wisdom work!

10:15: The tendency for “rich people” is to think they are protected from problems as if they were in a “strong city,” Solomon adds “like a high wall” (Proverbs 18:11). Paul warns Timothy to: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). No one is rich without blessing from God! And no one is rich without relying on many workers to produce and protect those riches! The arrogance of the rich, like the depression of the poor, says more about their mistaken attitudes than about their station in life! Likewise, the “poor” seem to think they live in “destruction” because they are “in poverty” (have not) as though it is a life’s sentence. The “poor” should not become covetous of the rich, nor overlook the fact that the rich have to hire the poor, nor ignore the principle that the difference between the blessings of the rich and the poverty of the poor, oftentimes, is simply a matter of work! “The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2). As far as God is concerned, wealth cannot buy salvation. “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). The people with debt don’t own their possessions, those who loaned them their money do! All creditors have title to the possession until it is paid back. THE NATION WITH THE GREATEST DEBT HAS BEEN SOLD OUT TO THOSE WILLING TO PUT UP THE MONEY FOR IT! Economic slavery is slavery! “He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty” (Proverbs 22:16). Becoming rich by oppressing the poor will surely fail. Whether the oppressing is done by cheap wages, excessive taxation, extortion, or inflated interest on loans, the system will fail. Giving to the rich is not for good motive, but involves bribery, social influence, political power, extravagance, or personal honor, and it is a false system of confidence in men, not God. “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding searches him out” (Proverbs 28:11). A poor person with God’s Wisdom “has understanding” to know more than a “rich man” who is “wise in his own eyes,” but not in God’s eyes!

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

#depression, #poor, #poverty-arrogance, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rich, #slavery, #wisdom

Abraham Lincoln, the clergy, elections, and reading Bible aright

Some things are worth repeating.

During the time Abraham Lincoln was running for President of the United States he stayed in Springfield IL (it was not the norm for the presidential candidate to canvass the country for votes; this was done by his supporters). One day in October of that year (1860) Lincoln desired to survey all the voters (all males) in Springfield. He was particularly interested in the votes of the clergy. A book was given him, he looked at it, closed the book, and turned to his friend.

“Here are twenty-three ministers of different denominations, and all of them are against me but three; and here are a great many prominent members of the churches, a very large majority of whom are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian – God knows I would be one – but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not understand this book.”  Taking a copy of his New Testament out of his pocket, he continued.

“These men well know that I am for freedom in the territories, freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and laws will permit, and my opponents are for slavery. They know this; and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all.”

Mr. Lincoln paused, rose to his feet, and walked up and down the room with his head bowed. When he raised his face it was wet with tears.

“I know there is a God,” he said, “and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see a storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me – and I think He has – I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but the truth is everything. I know I am right because I know liberty is right, for Christ teaches it and Christ is God … with God’s help I shall not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I will be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their Bibles aright.”

(The Humorous Mr. Lincoln, Keith Johnson, The Country Press, 1988, p. 66)

#bible, #lincoln, #preachers, #slavery, #votes

The Civil War Begins…

Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. The battle at Fort Sumter began April 12, 1861 and set in motion a forest fire that ravaged the land for the next four years.

The Civil War tore our nation apart, exposing our shame to the world. We still carry the scars of this War in the fabric of our nation.

The words of the  Gettysburg Address delivered by Abraham Lincoln on June 1, 1865 are as eloquent as anyone has ever been on the scourge of this war. The text of the speech is as follows:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The enslavement of millions of humans in our land will be a permanent stain upon our national psyche for all time. We must learn the lessons of this war, so we will never again stand in those bloody shoes.


#civil-war, #hatred, #slavery, #war

Are We in Slavery?

Barry Newton warns of the voluntary servitude that has invaded our lives. Are we a slave?