WOMEN IN FIRST CORINTHIANS

The first article on women in Corinthians is here.

Later in this epistle, Paul plainly state that in the assembly the women are not to speak, but they are to keep silent (14:34-35). This has caused no small controversy in today’s environment. In fact, there are many men and women who reject outright what the Holy Spirit said through the apostle Paul.

What are we to understand in the context?

First, starting in v. 26, Paul speaks with regard to them “coming together.” This is an occasion for the church in Corinth to assemble. Second, there is something relative to this assembly that allows the exercise of the supernatural gifts of God to be utilized (14:26-31). Third, the gifts of God can be controlled by the one (or the ones) who have them (14:32). Fourth, that which is done is to be done decently and in order (14:32-33). Fifth, in this context, the women are to keep silent, that is, they are not authorized by the Holy Spirit to teach. The next verse (14:35) is difficult, but I think the idea is along this line: since the assembly is gathered together, and there is teaching done, it might be that the wife/woman does not understand what is being said/taught. In this context, rather than disrupting the assembly (how this would be done is unstated), she is to speak with her husband about it at home.

#assembly, #silence, #spiritual-gifts, #teaching, #women

HOW HE SPOKE

                No man ever spoke like Jesus, it was declared. His word penetrated to the very essence of a person. Those who lived during the time He lived had come to recognize this (John 7:46), and those who take time to understand what the New Testament says about Him will quickly come to the same conclusion.

What was it about that which Jesus said that was so significant and challenging to the people of His day? First, He was one who spoke with authority (Matthew 8:27). When the Lord spoke it was not only those who had ears that were hearing, but the elements of this world were also hearing Him. The wind, the rain, the snow, and the heat play such an important role in the life of man, but they were controlled by Him who spoke with authority. Second, He spoke with conviction. By this I mean that He spoke with knowledge concerning His mission and message. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). This pertains only to people; those who have the ability to hear and understand, but make choices that are contrary to the Lord’s way—these are the ones Jesus came to seek and save (Romans 3:23; 6:23). His conviction was not only with regard to His knowledge concerning His own mission, but that message He spoke convicted the many who heard Him. The responses were varied, but there was a response (Matthew 9:22; John 7:45-52). Third, He spoke with compassion (Matthew 9:36-38). Compassion is related to understanding unfortunate circumstances another might be experiencing and then trying to assist in offering some sort of reprieve from it. In the passage referenced Jesus took notice that those who were in unfortunate circumstances were in actual need of a shepherd. As they were in need, we are also in need—and our shepherd is the “chief shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

A thoughtful person can’t help but to take notice that there was (and is) no man who ever spoke like Jesus. His words were not just words of wisdom, but the message He spoke was a message that took one from this worldly realm and transported him into a heavenly realm (John 8:31-32). I think I will listen to Jesus. RT

#christmas, #jesus, #speaking, #teaching

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Was Jesus Christ Beheaded?

If the Roman Catholic Church is right, Jesus Christ was decapitated on September 17, 2013 in Malaga, New Jersey. Among nine statues damaged were 3 five-feet-tall statues of Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was beheaded, Virgin Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima. These were located outside of St. Mary’s Malaga Catholic church. Spokeperson for the Camden Diocese Peter Feuerherd said, “These are important symbols of the Catholic faith and in that way when you attack the symbols of faith you attack the faith.” —CBS Philly, September 19, 2013

The fact that there is no physical description, drawing, image, or icon of Jesus Christ in Scripture or out of the Scriptures in the 1st Century doesn’t seem to influence anybody. Jesus was “the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), and God always condemned every attempt to recreate His image. To the Israelites under Moses’ Law, God said: “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 5:6-9). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul preached to idolaters: “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising” (Acts 17:29). There is no physical description of God, whether in the flesh or not, although “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Every statue, icon, painting, or other representation of Jesus Christ comes only as “shaped by art and man’s devising,” not God’s revelation! To call a church building or statue “sacred” is purely by the authority of men, and is totally contrary to the Will of God, for Jesus said, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father’” (John 4:21). It is the church of Christ, not a building, but the people, who form the “building” that is “a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

That physical buildings and statues are “important symbols of the Catholic faith” is yet another proof that the “Catholic faith” and the faith in the Word of God are completely separate and contrary to each other! The Roman Catholic Church is not the church of Christ in the New Testament, and never has been true to the Word of God. The practices of the Roman Catholic Church are based upon idolatry, not the faith of Scripture, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), and the Word of God condemns idolatry (1 John 5:21)! An idol means nothing to a Christian’s faith, for there is only “one God, the Father,” and “one Lord Jesus Christ,” so food sacrificed to an idol is not “sacred.” However, Paul asked: “if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?” Though such idols mean nothing to a Christian as a matter of faith, Christians are to show respect for the consciences of idol worshippers who are converted to Christ, but still haven’t elevated God to His supreme place in their hearts. This should be done without compromising their own Christian faith (1 Corinthians 8:4-13). A Christian would never offend another Christian’s conscience who has not developed to his own level of understanding, and wouldn’t think of intentionally desecrating those things that are considered religious “symbols” of others. Christians would, however, strive to teach the emptiness of such practices, as Paul did (Acts 14:8-18).

Instead of considering a statue of Jesus “holy,” why not let Jesus, Himself, be “that Holy One” (Luke 1:35), who died for you and God raised up (Acts 3:12-16), for whom you “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), so that you may be “holy” (Colossians 1:21-23)?  —–John T. Polk II, Dover, TN

#bible-study, #church-of-christ, #faith, #god, #idolatry, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #religion, #roman-catholic-church, #statues, #teaching, #truth, #worship

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(#73) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:24-It Doesn’t Take A Village To Raise A Child Who Has Both Parents!

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 13:24: “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”

The old “spare the rod, spoil the child” is truthful but not a quotation of Scripture. No amount of beatings can ever replace the effect of parental love, understanding, patience, and instruction. Children are to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), but fathers are specifically commanded “do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers must “bring them up,” not beat them down! Discipline includes instruction and enforcement of what is “right,” not dictatorial and tyrannical outbursts arbitrarily enforced with a “rod!” THIS PROVERB GIVES ABSOLUTELY NO PERMISSION TO ABUSE CHILDREN! Listen to the other proverbs on the subject: “Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction” (Proverbs 19:18); “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15); “Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die” (Proverbs 23:13); “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15); “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17). “The rod” is the last line of discipline to be applied (not the first or only line), but children must be reminded that there is a limit placed on their actions, beyond which they must not go in respect for parental authority. There is a time limit on good parental guidance, and that is “while there is hope,” or while the child is formative. It is “the rod and rebuke” that “give wisdom,” not just “the rod” without explanation and corrective instruction, but not “rebuke” without “the rod.” All the “rod of correction” is designed to do is sober up the child’s attitude and focus on the seriousness of the parent’s instruction, basically, “wipe that smile off your face!” Unfortunately, in this society filled with divorce and remarriage, custody battles, sexual relations without marriage commitment, a child is “left to himself.” The mother or father who thinks the child can handle things all alone is self-deceived and has abdicated the greatest authority on earth: nurturing a soul. They will give account on the Day of Judgment. Every child raised without proper discipline is a child raised without proper love, for discipline indicates loving care. The “father,” specifically, should be the obedience school for a child.

Every male who sires a child without a marriage commitment to its mother is: (1) profaning god’s sacredness of life; (2) disrespecting the mother of a life; (3) ignoring the God-given responsibility to properly instruct and guide the child’s life; (4) creating an illegitimate child without love (Hebrews 12:5-11); (5) and will be held accountable on the day of judgment for each and every soul he has neglected! It still requires a married couple (male and female) to properly raise every child.

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

#abuse, #bible-study, #children, #correction, #discipline, #family, #illegitimate, #instruction, #love, #marriage, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #spare-the-rod, #teaching, #wisdom

Corroded planter becomes a treasure.

Many of you know how much I enjoy going to thrift stores. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to find something I want for nearly nothing. You will be interested to know that the praying hands in the church foyer, the candle stand in the ladies bathroom as well as the beautiful oak table,  and Doug’s computer desk in his office are all things I have found at thrift stores. Continue reading

#practical-lessons, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #13

(#13) A Father’s Wisdom: Focus on What Is Right 4:20-27

Verses 20-22:  Son, pay “attention” to your father’s “words.” It is a heavy responsibility for a father to know something important enough to command total attention of his son. It is a grave responsibility for a son to know he needs to give his total attention to something his father has to say. This cannot be done while texting, MP3-ing, phoning, gaming, face timing, etc…nor even if the son is doing these things! The way to a son’s “heart” is through his “eyes” and “ears.” Lean your ear toward your father; keep your eyes focused on these sayings; center your heart (mind) on these thoughts. In other words, let these guide your thoughts and actions in your future. These wise thoughts will provide “life” and “health,” which means better living from now on. The healthiest sons are those who consume wisdom from their fathers.

Verses 23-27:

Verse 23: Heart-“Keep it” is a way of saying “guard, protect it,” “all diligence” means this should be a constant, daily effort. “The issues of life” are everything we think, say, see, and do, and who we are. Heart disease is the #1 killer of physical bodies, but heart disease is the #1 killer of souls, too! Jesus said, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man” (Matthew 15:18), but we may also act “as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).

Verse 24: Mouth-The mouth is to the heart what Facebook is to the world: a detailed diary. We should be “slow to speak” (James 1:19) because “the tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body” (James 3:6), so “if anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). “Deceitful” describes words designed to avoid “truth,” and “perverse” indicates words that are out of control and without restraint, thus “an unruly evil” (James 3:8). This prompted Wisdom to say: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

Verse 25: Eyes-The eyes must maintain their focus “straight ahead,” meaning never take your eyes off of where you plan to go, or what you plan to do. Being distracted from God’s Wise Way has been the ruin of humanity, from Adam (Genesis 3:17) to Demas (2 Timothy 4:10). “Eyelids” must remain open to see, this of course, a figurative application to the awareness of where one is going.

Verse 26-27: Feet-“Ponder the path” means: “think, boy, think.” Think where this path is leading, who has taken this path, who is waiting to waylay you, and what you’ll be doing to yourself if you go this way. If we follow “established” ways, we will not spend our time and energies being rebellious, different, obstinate, or just plain “weird!” There are some wise things that have been proven wise for generations, and a wise son will learn them. Just because a father says them doesn’t make them wrong! Keeping on the right path, watching out for our feet, and never wavering or straying off the path is a formula for guaranteed success. In Ghana, West Africa, their saying is, “No bend, no curve.” Another quote on the subject is: The greatest compliment you can pay truth is to accept and apply it.

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

#bible-study, #eyes, #feet, #heart, #mouth, #obedience, #path, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #teaching, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #10

(#10) Wisdom’s 2 Simple Rules for Life 3:27-35

Verses 27-30: How to “Love Your Neighbor.”

Verse 27: “Due” is the operative word. This refers to what is owed, whether something purchased, work hired, or payment promised. Moses’ Law required this: “’You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning” (Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14-15). The wisdom of Solomon required this: “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6). First Century Jews had long since lost this practice: “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). It is not wrong to buy on credit, but it is wrong to not pay when you can and should!

Verse 28: Delaying promised assistance to one’s neighbor is an evil exercise that  frustrates mercy. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17).

Verse 29: It’s bad enough to frustrate mercy to a neighbor in need, but to “devise evil” takes this to a newer, lower level of indecency! The word “neighbor” literally describes the ones closer to us than the rest of the world, and they probably have chosen our “safety” for neighborhood. This is a main missing ingredient in “the hood,” for neighbors should be able to rely upon each other for “safety” when police cannot always be there. “Neighborhood Watches” should be the order of the day everywhere.

Verse 30: In our litigious society, this must be re-instated! It is easy to ignore this rule of “neighborliness” when TV commercials are creating band wagonloads of people wanting to “sue” someone for something. Lawsuits should be limited to “harm done,” not in order to establish some “harm done!”

Verses 31-35: How to NOT Get “Suckered Into the Wrong Crowd!”

Verses 31-32: Don’t envy them. “The oppressor” who sues for no other reason than greed and who “devises evil” against neighbors shows a tyrant stripe wide enough to be seen! He/she/they should not be “envied” (desire what they obtain) because what they are doing is “perverse” and an “abomination to the LORD.” This unyielding damnation on their “oppression” should show this as a wrong path for the righteous. We may not see that God meets with the righteous, not oppressors!

Verses 33-35: Accept God’s Awaiting Judgments. God curses the “house of the wicked,” but “blesses the home of the just,” that is, He will not bless those whose will is to be wicked, and He will bless those who seek to do right. Verse 34 is quoted in James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 as: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” and in both passages this is a reason to “be humble.” Do not count “the legacy of fools” by their money, influence, power, glory, murders, conquests, but by their standing before Almighty God!

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

#bible-study, #cheating, #credit, #debt, #god, #neighbor, #neighborliness, #owing, #pay, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #suing, #teaching, #wages, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #9

(#9) God’s Wisdom is Beneficial, Universal, Calming 3:13-26

Verses 13-18: Wisdom is described as a woman with benefits, who appears to have only good things to bring to a person’s life. The contrast with the “immoral woman” (Proverbs 2:16-22) could not be greater, and should correct those who might think Solomon was against all women! An immoral woman can destroy a man, but Wisdom appearing as a woman can preserve a man. Wisdom makes a man “happy” (verse 13) because she is:

Profitable (verse 14) beyond possessing silver and gold. A wise life will make money to enjoy (Ecclesiastes 5:19), but a foolish one doesn’t know how to enjoy wealth (Ecclesiastes 6:2).

Precious (verse 15) beyond rubies, and nothing else is as desirable.

Prolongs life (verse 16) with her “right hand,” and the main rewards in life (“riches and honor”) in her “left hand.” This shows Wisdom has nothing in her hands but good.

Pleasant (verse 17) ways and paths of peace, instead of crooked ways and devious paths of the immoral woman. Could Wisdom be more appealing? Who does not look forward to a pleasant life, lived in peace?

Paradise (verse 18) is where the “tree of life” was when access was lost for all of us by Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7). Wisdom will help us find the way back to that tree to live with God.

Verses 19-20: God’s Creation was designed with such wisdom, that all scientific discoveries are simply the uncovering of the Wisdom of God! The expression, “scientific discoveries” does not include “what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20), such as Evolution, Global Warming, Global Cooling, ad nauseum. God imbedded “Wisdom” in Creating the earth, itself; God showed “understanding” in making “the heavens” so precisely; God used “knowledge” in Noah’s day when “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). The terms, “wisdom,” “understanding,” “knowledge,”  are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other.

Verses 21-26: The Wisdom of God inside a heart means there is NO FEAR in life! If we keep focused on sound Wisdom and discretion (good judgment), our life will be with grace (verses 21-22). Instead of blindly falling into sin(s), we can be more sure footed in our way (verse 23). Knowing that God’s Wisdom brings order to Creation, so His Wisdom brings order to our life (verses 24-26). Following God’s Wisdom is better than Benedryl, Lunesta or Ambien! Since the most-prescribed class of drugs in the United States is anti-depressants, God’s Wisdom is sorely needed! Jesus echoed this wise teaching about high anxiety in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34).

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

#bible-study, #evolution, #false-knowledge, #global-warming, #god, #life, #obedience, #profitable, #proverbs, #sermon-on-the-mount, #teaching, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #8

(#8) The Wise Trust God And Improve Their Lives 3:1-12

Following God’s Wisdom brings out the best qualities in us, as we learn to have total confidence in God’s guidance. Heeding Wisdom will give one:

Verses 1-2: Longer Life. “My son” is an expression used some 15 times in the first 7 chapters of Proverbs, for it is written as if Solomon is instructing his son. The way to “not forget” law is to “let your heart keep” the commands. This is explained in James 1:21-25 and applied to Christian obedience. Obedience comes from the “heart,” as do all our words (Matthew 12:35-37), sins (Mark 7:21-23), jobs (Ephesians 6:5-8). Blessings promised include “length of days” as in good health, “long life” as in living to old age, and “peace” as assistance to abundance or prosperity. Statistics show that those who regularly go to church live longer.

Verses 3-4: Better Relations. If “mercy” (feelings for the plight of our fellowmen) and “truth” (factual and accurate knowledge of our, and others’, actions) are written on our heart, we will wear them like jewelry. These two qualities of character are appreciated (“favor and high esteem”) among men and by God. All deep friendships are based upon understanding the friend, and honesty.

Verses 5-6: Higher Direction. Total trust in God in all our ways is possible because He made us (Genesis 1:26-27), greatly loved us (Ephesians 2:4-7), gave His Son for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Why should we not believe He wants to help us make the best decisions in our lives? Trust “with all our heart” means we give up our “own understanding” and defer to His direction. It reduces tension to know what to do.

Verses 7-8: Better Health. To be “wise in your own eyes” is another way of describing “loftiness and arrogance and pride” (Jeremiah 48:29-31), but it takes “fear” (respect, awe) of the LORD, and the desire to “depart from evil” (or leave sinful practices, also known as repentance). By listening to God, we may keep our physical bodies from the dissipation and disease of sins, and live healthier and stronger lives, just as God promised His Israelites (Deuteronomy 15:26). Humility is the way of recognizing realistically our place in this vast world, without hypocrisy.

Verses 9-10: Better Prosperity.  Thank God first with whatever we prosper, and He will think of us when we prosper. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God always has required that giving to Him come before any other consideration, and be freewill (Leviticus 23:37-38).

Verses 11-12: Better Attitude. A person who wants to be a spiritual “child of God” will accept some things that happen in life as God’s “chastening” (teaching) or “correction” (sometimes hurtful reminders not to stray from the path of good). No parent loves his/her child who will not “correct” (discipline) the child, when needed. These two verses are used to show Christians not to become discouraged at God’s correction, for it proves that God is dealing with them as a child whom He loves (Hebrews 12:3-11).

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

#bible-study, #christian-living, #correction, #daily-bible-reading, #discipline, #god, #health, #life, #long-life, #mercy, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #pride, #proverbs, #sin, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

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God and “The Pope” Agree!

          According to the “Living faith” section C of The Huntsville Times, Friday, June 14, 2013, the article on Religion & Church News carried an item titled, “NO, I did not want to be Pope.” It was an interview from McClatchy-Tribune that quoted the 3-month-in-office “Pope” of the Roman Catholic Church, Francis, as saying: “’No, I didn’t want to be pope. A person who wants to be pope does not love himself,’ the pontiff added, in a trademark show of humility.’”  Based upon his comments, God would agree that:

1. Since “Pope” is a Latin term for “father,” and since Jesus Christ forbade anyone using the term “father” as a term for a spiritual leader (Matthew 23:9), then God would agree that Francis should not be “pope!”

2. Francis “didn’t want to be pope,” a position which is supposed to be the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But the Apostle Paul claimed that “the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11). Since God’s “mighty power” raised Jesus from the dead and “put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23), then God placed Jesus Christ over His church, not a “pope!” Thus, God would agree that He didn’t want Francis to be “pope” over the church!”

3. Francis said, “A person who wants to be pope does not love himself.” God’s Word has said that, after “the falling away,” “and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), but whose followers would be “among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10), then Francis must not “love himself” for taking the position of apostasy that God condemns! God would agree that any man who takes such a position “does not love himself” or the truth, either!

4. Contrary to the article cited above, there is no “trademark show of humility” in anyone who opposes God, sits in God’s temple, or claims to forgive sins which only God can do (Matthew 9:1-8)! Jesus Christ condemned public displays of the Pharisees, which are remarkably like that of a “pope:” “all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues” (Matthew 23:5-6). No “pope” has ever manifested a “trademark show of humility,” while claiming to be equal with God! The real head of the church of Christ, “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). No “pope” has ever humbled himself to die on a cross for the church of Christ! God would agree that there is no “trademark show of humility” in this, or any other “pope.”

It’s too bad the “pope” refuses to tell his followers what Jesus said would give salvation in Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Will this “pope” agree with God?

#church-of-christ, #father, #god, #humble, #hypocrisy, #jesus-christ, #pharisees, #pope, #roman-catholic-church, #salvation, #show-of-humility, #teaching

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#4) Listen to Your Parents, not a “Gang!” 1:8-19

Verses 8-9: The father, whose work may occupy much time, gives “instruction,” while the mother, whose work principally should be family, gives “law.” The assumption here is that both have spiritually agreed to enforce God’s law as best they might, therefore they are not in conflict with each other, nor undermine the other’s authority with the children. This formula is clearly upheld in the Law of Christ (Ephesians 6:1-4). “Human fathers” also chasten us (Hebrews 12:9) and enforce the discipline of teaching. Societies that encourage, sanction, or teach children to ignore and disrespect their parents or to rebel against them, will not long survive. “Single parenting” is not the best way to raise a child. God has planned for both a “father” and a “mother” to be required, and included, in a child’s proper instruction. The highest percentage of poverty in America is found in single-parent homes, mostly where the mother is the single parent! Properly teaching a child is like fine jewelry.

Verse 10: No one may be misled into sin without consent. Children are “in the wrong crowd” when they haven’t been shown how to recognize “the wrong crowd,” or to refuse to go along with “the wrong crowd,” or taught to conform and give consent to “the wrong crowd.” Parents who let their children be led by peers instead of by rightful parental advice have abdicated their duty and will be held accountable for it. “Sinners” refers to the willfully disobedient, not an occasional sin.

Verses 11-14: “The wrong crowd” will propose: (vss. 11-12) anything up to the point of murder to gain their advantage; (vs. 13) stealing anything and everything; (vs.14) becoming an equal partner in all matters. There is no clearer description of “gangs,” “brotherhoods,” “mobs,” “cliques,” “unions,” or any other group devoted to violence. It is truly foolish ignorance to join such power associations, and must surely be referred to by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

Verses 15-19: Such groups are to be avoided by not taking the first step with them (v. 15); for they are always in a hurry to do their evil (v. 16) and ignore the open net of judgment awaiting them (v. 17); the wicked openly seek blood with no prompting (v. 18); those “greedy for gain” (covetous) are so involved in pursuing “gain” they lose their own lives, and others’ lives, if necessary!

#bible-study, #daily-bible-reading, #evil, #gangs, #proverbs, #sin, #teaching, #wicked

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#2) Five Ways A Proverb Helps 1:1-4:

Just as Jesus explained why He spoke in parables (Matthew 13:10-17), Solomon begins in Proverbs 1:1-4 by explaining why “proverbs” should be understood:

1. “To know wisdom and instruction”

God wants us “to know,” that is, to have confidence in helpful information we gain. Certainty is a confidence ignored, minimized, or ridiculed by many in the “Education Profession,” because if pupils are uncertain of what they learn, they’ll keep hiring the “professionals.” But, what makes the “professionals” certain of anything? Teachers of false things emphasize that pupils must be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7). By contrast, however, there is certainty in God’s Word, for He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “Wisdom” may be defined as “learned lessons” which are gained by experience and/or study, either or both of which are easier when God interprets it. “Instruction” refers to the “discipline of teaching” or the “how to” manual. All three of these mean someone whose life follows God’s insight by obeying His instructions, will have certainty in the outcome!

2. “To perceive the words of understanding”

Perception is a clear vision of the words of understanding. “Understanding” is horse sense or common sense. Though often missing, it is obvious when it is! Duh!

3. “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity”

These first three are how wisdom is obtained: “know,” “perceive,” “receive.” When a teacher gives out proper information, good pupils accept it. Since no one can live long enough to experience everything, “wisdom” is learned either by one’s own experiences, or someone else’s. God’s insight into human behavior cannot be excelled, for it is absolutely accurate. “Justice” is what is right; “judgment” is awareness of responsibility for action(s); “equity” is evenness or consistency.

4. “To give prudence to the simple”

“Prudence” is the use of good judgment. “Simple,” once a virtue meaning “honest, without complexity,” in this Book, carries the idea of one who refuses to complicate life with any advice or instruction from God or man! “Simple,” “scorner,” “fool” are interchangeable in the Book of Proverbs (1:22). The “simple” refuse to look ahead with foresight, or judgment based upon consequences.

5. “To the young man knowledge and discretion”

“The young man” signifies inexperience, one subject to learning the hard way. “Knowledge” is beneficial information acquired by observation and study. “Discretion” is respect for what is appropriate, or the modesty of good judgment.

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #god, #proverbs, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#1) What are “Proverbs?”

“Proverbs” (Hebrew “mashal”) which means “dominant meaning,” but which may not be obvious unless it is pointed out. The New Testament word “parable” means “cast alongside” so that a fact of life helps illustrate a spiritual truth. The English word “proverb” (John 10:6; 16:25) carries the sense of “original, deeper meaning.”  The first time the word occurs (Numbers 21:27), the first proverb made (I Samuel 10:12), the first proverb of experience quoted (1 Samuel 24:13), all speak of observation(s) of life.

Jesus Christ is known for teaching in “parables” (Matthew 13:3-53), which are true statements of life that illustrate a spiritual truth from God. Parables needed an explanation “because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). In Matthew 7:21-27, Jesus divided the human race between those who hear and obey (“wise”), and those who do not (“fools”). “Proverbs” are true statements of human behavior that are explained by the God Who made us. Solomon divided the human race between those who hear and understand (“wise”), and those who do not (“fools”).

Though Solomon “spoke three thousand proverbs” (1 Kings 4:32), those that have been written down are in Proverbs 1:1-29:27; Ecclesiastes; and Song of Solomon. Of about 915 proverbs, Solomon wrote about 800, many in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:1; 10:1; 25:1). In 1 Kings 3:5-15, Solomon had asked God for “an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (verse 9), which God granted (verse 12), and that made Solomon the wisest man in the history of mankind, until Jesus Christ, “a greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42).

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #god, #proverbs, #teaching, #wisdom

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Psalm 149 The God Who Will Not Be Conquered

These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

Verses 1-5 call for God’s People to praise Him for victory;

Verses 6-9 call for praise and defeat of their enemies.

Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) “A new song” indicates a “new heart,” celebrating a “new victory,” and a “new life.” “The assembly of the saints” is a worship service, where “God is greatly to be feared” (Psalm 89:7). In America, every time there is disaster, trouble, destruction, criminal death, or missing person, there is some candlelight “coming together.” When Peter was kept in prison with the intent of killing him, the church of Christ gathered for prayer (Acts 12:12), not candles! (Verse 2) The people, Israel, especially their religious center, Zion, should rejoice with (verse 3) “dance” and “timbrel and harp,” just as their forefathers had done when God parted the Red Sea for them to escape Egypt and be their own Nation (Exodus 14:21-15:21). (Verse 4) God’s “pleasure” is in His People, who develop beautiful, spiritual character. (Verse 5) “Saints” should be joyful, even on “their beds,” formerly places of sorrow.

Verses 6-9: (Verse 6) While praising God with their “mouth,” “And a two-edged sword in their hand.” This sounds like the Israelites re-building the wall of Jerusalem when they were returned to their Promised Land (Nehemiah 4:17). Apparently, there was no “gun control” then! A dis-armed people can do nothing against the enemies of God! (Verse 7) “Bearing the sword” in “vain” (meaninglessly), or using the power of the sword against “good works,” violates God’s intended purpose for “governing authorities” (Romans 13:1-5). Today, Christians are to praise God while Government uses the sword to be “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).

(Verse 8) God’s government, acting as His minister, defeats evil. (Verse 9) God’s “judgment” in writing was: “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). Today, the “sword of the Spirit” in a Christian hand, “is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and the “nations,” “peoples,” “kings,” and “nobles” must be conquered by teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). Since Jesus Christ established His spiritual kingdom on Earth in the 1st Century, there has been NO “Christian carnal war” waged against Muslims, Jews, or anyone else, for that matter, and therefore NO justification for persecuting the churches of Christ! All of those who persecute Christians, even to death, are persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:1-5), and, unless they repent, He will damn them forever (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)!

“Praise the LORD!”

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #evangelism, #faith, #god, #judgment-in-writing, #kingdom-of-christ, #mission, #obedience, #preaching, #teaching

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Psalm 133 Unity of Brethren

There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.” This Psalm is attributed to David.

Verse 1 pictures a “good” thing;

Verses 2-3 illustrate what it is “like.”

Verse 1: It is “good and pleasant” “For brethren to dwell together in unity!” One of the most satisfying sights is to see “unity” form from many, the very Latin phrase for the United Stated (e pluribus unum). Every hyphenated American has rejected this motto. All hyphenated “Christians” have missed entirely the New Testament teaching. Those who obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16) are “baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13), and are called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). There are no kinds of Christians in the New Testament. When Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways, it was because of a conflict of judgment, not over doctrine (Acts 15:36-40). “Unity,” however, doesn’t mean brethren must stay on top of each other, for there are plenty in the world who need the Gospel. “The unity of the Spirit” includes “the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3), and narrowness in doctrine (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Verse 2: Brethren’s “unity” shows how obedience to God’s teaching sanctifies (devotes, dedicates), just like, under Moses’ Law, Aaron was dedicated with  anointing oil (Leviticus 8:10-12).

Verse 3: “Unity” of brethren reminds us that the unifying doctrine originates with God, not men (James 3:13-18), just like looking at Mount Hermon’s “dew” which settles “upon the mountains of Zion.”

Thought: “Unity” is not a goal, it is a product of obeying the same doctrine (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 John 1:5-7). No “Unity Forum” can unite better than, or equally with, plain preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #church-of-christ, #daily-bible-reading, #hyphenated-christians, #obedience, #teaching, #unity