A PARENT’S POSITIVE INFLUENCE

Just thinking, if people would follow these ideas just maybe there kids would not be destroying our country. Just saying

Relationships—Kids are more likely to avoid the wrong crowd when they see Mom and Dad carefully choosing their own friends and then treating those people with grace and love.

Money—Before our children can use money well, they need to know that everything they earn is actually a gift from God. Wise parents both teach and model that money’s true value lies in its being a means of meeting needs and blessing others.

Vocation—Boys and girls should grow up knowing God has a plan and will for their life. And if parents always strive for excellence because they’re serving God, kids will grow up knowing everything is to be done for the Lord, regardless of who the human boss is.

Despite what the world thinks, true success is not about having the most money, the best job, or the best-looking spouse. Success means keeping a God-centered attitude and letting that spill over into all areas of life.

In Whose Hand Is The Soul

Dee Keith

Job 12:10

 

Job was battling for his life. He was battling the doubts and denunciations of his friends. He was battling the disease of his flesh. Death was imminent in his opinion. Job was engaged in a war that would never end in a truce, or know of a triumph in his days. His battle with these men called friends was over his personal honor and righteousness and that he was on the receiving end of his own just deserts for personal sin in his life. His battle was a spiritual warfare fomented by ignorance of the knowledge of God.

 

Historical Christianity is under a spiritual attack by the same hostile environments from which Job’s friends came with the same antagonistic spirit that assaults the core beliefs and teachings of Scripture. It is two fronted assault: the issue of life; that is, does life begin at conception? And, secondly, is the termination of life. 

 

Job was instructing Zophar in his rebuttal that life is divinely planned. Job was reminding this friend to look at nature, the birds, the animals, the fish of the sea, and understand that inexplicable calamities occur in the creature world. And, when they do, what do we say? It was an act of nature. It is God who gives life, however, and the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind is in His hands. It is only God that can take away the soul and breath from the living. Life is the gift of God that He alone disposes. “In Him was life,” John said, “and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the resurrection, and the life,” (Jn. 11:25), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). The Apostle Paul proclaimed a similar truth in his sermon on Mars Hill, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

A husband and wife come to together with the hope and dream of beginning a family. Then to their dismay, the wife cannot conceive for some reason, or the husband has a medical issue. We have a niece that desires so much to mother a baby and cannot. She has spent thousands of dollars for medical help to conceive but to no avail. On the opposite side are those women who have no medical issues and conceives but does not want the children they bear. Some go to the extreme of aborting a life that has been divinely planned of God. This brings in to consideration many other issues that can’t be dealt with now, but my point is that of Job, it is God that divinely plans life.

 

Why was Job battling for his life? Why was Job under such severe attack by those men that had known him and his beliefs on life for so long? If Job teaches us anything it is that the value of life is decidedly prized. Job’s wife was so grieved over his condition that she preferred to see him dead rather than suffer. “Curse God and die,” she begged her husband. His three friends were convinced that there was no hope for Job. They had witnessed death many times, and Job’s condition suggested that death was imminent. Job thought the same. There was, however, a spirit of fight left in this man of God. He treasured life. It was a gift of God, and he wasn’t ready just yet to give up the ghost. He would fight the disease. He would trust in the Lord. He would battle misunderstanding. Job prized life.

 

Job reminded these men that life is divinely preserved: “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” This was an acknowledgement and an expression of faith that his life (and all life) is the divine protection of God. Job queried his friends earlier, “Is there not an appointed time to man upon the earth” (7:1)? He would later proclaim the same truth, “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of mine appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (14:14).

It has been the firm belief that the days of man are appointed, or that we have a determined number of days. Our birth and death is in the hands of an all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving God. The birth of a baby in according to the will of God, and the taking of the breath of life from the living is also according to the same Divine Will. There are unexplained mysteries about early death, premature death, unexplained death, that is true. But the Biblical truth is that the Lord gives and takes life. This we are reminded of in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Before that unwanted death, however, is life; the gift of life, that only the great God of heaven and earth gives and preserves for us. May we decidedly prize, cherish, and treasure the life the Lord has given to us.

The Bible

The Bible’s first book never explains God; it simply assumes His existence: “In the beginning, God…” (1:1). Chapters 1 and 2 describe how God created the universe and everything in it simply by speaking: “God said…and it was so” (1:6–7, 9, 11, 14–15). Humans, however, received special handling, as “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (2:7), and woman was crafted from a rib of man.

Those first two people, Adam and Eve, live in perfection but ruined paradise by disobeying God at the urging of a “subtil” (crafty, 3:1) serpent. Sin throws humans into a moral freefall as the world’s first child—Cain—murders his brother Abel. People become so bad that God decides to flood the entire planet, saving only the righteous Noah, his family, and an ark (boat) full of animals. After the earth repopulates, God chooses a man named Abram as patriarch of a specially blessed people, later called “Israel” after an alternative name of Abram’s grandson Jacob.

Genesis ends with Jacob’s son Joseph, by a miraculous chain of events, ruling in Egypt—setting up the events of the following book of Exodus. QUOTABLE God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (1:3) The LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? (4:9) Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (6:8) He [Abram] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (15:6) UNIQUE AND UNUSUAL Genesis quickly introduces the concept of one God in multiple persons, a concept later called the Trinity: “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26, emphasis added).

Also early on, God gives a hint of Jesus’ future suffering and victory when He curses the serpent for deceiving Eve: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (3:15). SO WHAT? Genesis answers the great question “Where did I come from?” Knowing the answer can give us meaning in a world that’s otherwise hard to figure out.

You and Sin

If you can’t be happy in your sin, that’s a good sign. True believers are never happy when they’re out of fellowship with God.

And if you’re out of fellowship with God, if you’ve sinned against the Lord, then you’ll be an unhappy person.

When the Devil looks for a Christian to take down, he looks for the one who’s following at a distance. He looks for the person who says, “Do we have to go to church again? Didn’t we do that last week? Read the Bible? Really? Again?”

Children of God hunger for these things. Compromisers on the other hand, only do them out of duty. And if no one is encouraging them to do these things, then they don’t do them.

If you’re following the Lord at a distance, you will end up in the miserable no-man’s-land of compromise. And in that dismal place you will have too much of the Lord to be happy in the world, and too much of the world to be happy in the Lord.

Don’t be that person.

Praying

Not praying when we need to can actually be a sin. It’s the sin of omission. A sin of omission is not doing what you should do, while a sin of commission is doing what you should not do. The Bible says, Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

And neglecting to pray is a direct result of the sin of self-confidence. And instead of praying, we usually worry (as though that will help).

So, we don’t say, “I can handle this, God,” or “I’ll fix that, Lord.” Instead, we need to pray about it. We need to say, “Lord, I need your help right now. I’m at the point where I’m tired of trusting in myself, and I’m calling out to you, Lord.

A destructive sin

Selfishness is a consuming and destructive sin. The first and inevitable casualty is the person who manifests it, even if no one else is harmed. Because this sin, like every other, begins in a sinful heart, anyone can commit it—regardless of whether there is an opportunity for it to be outwardly expressed. Even when not outwardly manifested, selfishness breeds anger, resentment, and jealousy. . . .

It is an immeasurable tragedy that modern culture (including much of the church) has, largely through the influence of secular psychology, rejected the divinely commanded principles of humility and selflessness. When the supreme virtue is self-love and the supreme purpose in life is self-fulfillment, mutual respect is replaced by disrespect, mutual service by apathy and indifference, and mutual love by enmity and hatred. [1]

Christians must not succumb to such a selfish lifestyle, and the other sinful attitudes it breeds. That’s why the apostle Paul points our focus away from ourselves.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Satisfaction

The things that bring us joy and satisfaction in our everyday lives are gifts from the Lord, given to enjoy, of course, but also to serve as important reminders of the satisfaction He promises.

In His love and mercy, God promises much: to faithfully stay with us , give us wisdom, fulfill every need we have, meet us where we are, and reveal what we’re to say in hard situations to name a few. We can look to these promises as we wait for His return, knowing that each earthly joy is but a glimpse of what is to come.

Think of something you genuinely enjoy or find satisfying. Is it easy to see this as a reminder of the joy God offers?

When Christ’s promises are realized, our souls will be satisfied. How does reflecting on His promises help you in your pursuit of righteousness and, ultimately, eternal satisfaction?

God’s Favor

God delights in granting special grace and favor to those whose hearts are set on pleasing Him. For example, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” and was spared the ravages of the Flood (Gen. 6:8). Joseph found favor in His sight and was elevated to prominence in Egypt (Gen. 39—41). God granted Moses and the children of Israel favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and they were able to plunder Egypt in the Exodus.

Today God’s favor is the special grace He grants His children in times of need. It is especially evident when their obedience brings persecution. The apostle Peter wrote, This finds favor [grace], if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. . . . If when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor [grace] with God.

Have you suffered lately because you took a stand for Christ.

Are we doomed and helpless

Unbelievers are doomed to live their lives with a sense of helplessness surrounded by anarchy. Desires for true peace, safety, and lasting prosperity are unattainable, particularly for those who subscribe to atheistic and evolutionary belief systems.

Those worldviews teach us that events are random, our origins accidental, our lives meaningless, and tragedy inevitable. Those who close their eyes to the one true God remain blind to His divine plans and purposes. As John MacArthur argues, contentment can only be found through trust in God’s providence:

So I say to you

Until we truly learn that God is sovereign, ordering everything for His own holy purposes and the ultimate good of those who love Him, we can’t help but be discontent. That’s because in taking on the responsibility of ordering our lives, we will be frustrated in repeatedly discovering that we can’t control everything. Everything already is under control, however, by Someone far greater than you or I.

A synonym for God’s providence is divine provision, but that’s a skimpy label for a complex theological reality. Providence is how God orchestrates everything to accomplish His purposes. Let me show you what that means by contrast.

There are two ways God can act in the world: by miracle and by providence. A miracle has no natural explanation. In the flow of normal life, God suddenly stems the tide and injects a miracle. Then He sets the flow back in motion, just like parting the Red Sea until His people could walk across and closing it up again. Do you think it would be easier to do that—to say, “Hold it, I want to do this miracle” and do it—or to say, “Let’s see, I’ve got 50 billion circumstances to orchestrate to accomplish this one thing”? The latter is providence. Think, for example, of how God providentially ordered the lives of Joseph, Ruth, and Esther. Today He does the same for us.

Sharing Jesus

1 Corinthians 2:1-16

The Bible clearly tells believers to proclaim the gospel to all people. Yet, while we certainly want others to know Jesus, many of us become paralyzed at the thought of engaging in spiritual conversations. If that describes you, take heart—you’re in good company. 

Many believers have fears about sharing the gospel, but Jesus calls us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). So lean on the Spirit, who gives us the mind of Christ. Then, no matter the obstacles, you will be able to proclaim the Savior’s love.

While sharing our faith, many of us have been asked questions we didn’t feel prepared to answer. The awkwardness of such moments can make us hesitant to share, but that’s why it’s important to remember we’re not on our own. 

Knowing we would need encouragement in such situations, Jesus told His followers, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). Don’t forget that the omniscient Spirit of God lives within every Christian, and He knows the best way to respond to any comment or question. But for Him to “bring to … remembrance” the truths of Scripture, we have responsibility to spend time in the Bible regularly. Then the word of Christ can “richly dwell within” us (Col. 3:16). 

When we run into questions for which we don’t have the answer, it’s fine to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll look into it.” And there may be times that others approach spiritual topics with hostility. Then, remember Paul’s wisdom: “Let your speech always be with grace … so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Col. 4:6). Gracious words and a winsome attitude reflect Christlikeness, even in those moments when you might not have an answer on the tip of your tongue.

Blind no more

John 9:25 New International Version (NIV)

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, here’s what I know about you without even knowing you: Once you were blind, but now you see.

That’s a common phrase we use today, but it came from a New Testament story about a blind man. Jesus saw this man and healed him in an unorthodox way. He spit on the ground, stirred it around in some dirt, and then put it on the man’s eyes. Then Jesus told him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.

That is the power of a changed life.

I think people are often surprised that we weren’t always the way we are now. I don’t know where they think Christians come from, but they seem to put us all in one giant category. Then we mess with their narrative when we say, “Hold on. I didn’t always believe this. I used to believe this way” or “I used to live another way.”

Everyone has a story to tell. So, let’s look for opportunities to start evangelistic conversations.

Is America Doomed

I seen a lot of things in my long life but nothing compares to what is going on right now in this country. I can’t put it into the right words as this young man can. He hit’s it all on the head like a hammer on a nail. Take a few minutes of your time and listen to what’s going to happen in this country if things and people don’t wake up. Some people I know won’t except the facts, and some are scared to death of what is going on right now in America.

Here is the next part if you aren’t to afraid to listen.

Serving God

One of the characteristics of a fallen human nature is the rejection of what’s best.

This began all the way back in the garden of Eden, when Satan tempted Eve to rebel against God and exert her tight to determine her own course. Ever since, people have been pursuing their desires base on self-interest. It’s understandable that this is the world’s mindset, sadly, though it is also the attitude of many Christians, who attend church but consider serving an encroachment on their time.

            Such self-centered reasoning is grounded in three misconceptions.

  1. We don’t understand who God is. He’s the divine Creator of the universe and the sovereign Ruler over heaven and earth. He redeemed us from sin with the precious blood of His Son. He purchased us from slavery to sin. In that way we become His Slaves, who serve Him out of Love and Gratitude.
  2. We don’t understand why we are here. We were created to worship and serve God. This is our destiny and the way we glorify Him.
  3. We don’t understand the Lord’s great purpose in the world. He is building His Kingdom, and we have been commissioned to be involved in this process by ministering to one another and proclaiming the gospel near and far.

God intended Christian service to be a divine privilege, a fulfilling opportunity, and an avenue of blessing. To say we can’t fit it into our schedule is a rejection of what God has commanded and ordained as best. But the truth is, what we forfeit by not serving is far greater than anything we could gain by selfishly pursuing our own way.

Walk properly

Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy” (Romans 13:13 NKJV).

Let me put that into the modern vernacular: Don’t party and drink. Have you ever been in a place where a group of people are drinking, and they get louder and louder? Pretty soon no one even knows what they’re laughing at.

The Christian should be under the control of the Holy Spirit not alcohol or drugs. Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (NLT).

Then there is the word: lewdness, which comes from a Greek term that simply means “bed.” It holds the same connotation as two people going to bed together. We understand that doesn’t mean taking a nap.

The word lust in this verse doesn’t merely describe a person given over to immorality. It describes someone who is living immorally but is incapable of feeling shame. It’s shameless excess and the complete absence of restraint.

In other words, this is a person who not only lives immorally, but they proclaim it. They flaunt it. They’re proud of it.

It frightens me when I hear of Christians engaging in sexual activity outside of God’s constraints, having affairs, extramarital sex, and premarital sex.

The Bible is saying that should not be true of us. So, don’t live that way.

Strong Faith

The key to rock-solid faith is an intimate relationship with God. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Upon salvation, we are grafted into the vine of Christ, which means that His Spirit lives and works in us and provides a constant connection between Father and child. Abiding in God gets us through hard times.

However, we have to choose to tap into that power. Trying to keep things from God’s control could interfere with His plans and cause our relationship with Him to grow distant. But when we commit to knowing God through prayer, meditation, and obedience, His power flows through us, like sap through a branch, bringing new growth. 

Intimacy helps us trust the Lord when life gets difficult. And the more we abide—especially during hard times—the more we grow into unshakeable “oaks of righteousness” (Isa. 61:3).

The Church

For the church, the most difficult criticism has arisen from within, from false professors who once claimed to support it and its leaders. Paul came to know the disappointment and distress of being torn down when his detractors at Philippi assailed him even while he sat in prison. But he is a model of how one can rise above such pain and discouragement.

Paul’s main detractors were his fellow preachers who proclaimed the same gospel as he did. They were not at odds with him over doctrine but over personal matters. Paul’s detractors were envious of his ministry gifts and the way God had blessed his efforts with many converts and numerous churches.

Contending with the detractors at Philippi was not a completely new trial for Paul. He had previously learned patience in dealing with the letdowns caused by other supposed supporters. Now his opponents were testing his patience to the extreme as they sought to destroy his credibility with his supporters.

The detractors’ tactics might have unsettled the faith of some in the churches, but not Paul’s confidence. He stood up to all the unpleasantness with joy because, as our verse indicates, he knew the cause of Christ was still being advanced.

Paul’s exemplary behavior under fire provides an obvious lesson for us: no amount of false and unfair criticism should steal our joy in Christ and His gospel. And we can keep rejoicing if we, like Paul, stay devoted to our top priority, proclaiming and glorifying the name of Christ.

Our Country

Now consider our country. We, too, are a nation that largely disregards the Lord, one that has turned away from Him and embraced idols. Maybe ours aren’t statues of stone, but we worship money, athletic ability, fame, politics, and reputation. Over time, we’ve removed the Lord from many aspects of public life. What was once a nation founded on godly principles has become a country that tolerates a variety of sins.

When Israel turned its back on the Lord, God’s wrath was inevitable unless the people repented and made Him Lord once again. As believers, we have responsibility to pray that God will draw our heart, and the heart of our country, back to Himself, and that He will help the gospel and truth spread through our land.

The Lord of the Sabbath

Brother Dee Keith


Matthew 12:15

It was the Sabbath day. The day began not unlike most other Sabbath days for Jesus and the disciples who were traveling somewhere through Galilee in the vicinity of Capernaum. But this day would turn eventful and ultimately lead to an event that would help change the course of history for both the Jewish people and the Gentiles. As they walked, the twelve passed through a cornfield and hunger overcame them. The disciples did what most hungry people would do, they plucked ears of corn, shucked them, and ate. This was allowable according to the Mosaic Law. The problem was, today was not just another day; it was the Sabbath. But, according to the strict interpretation of the Pharisees, Jesus and His men were in violation of the law. And because they were sticklers of the law, they quickly brought this error to the attention of the popular Rabbi.

This wasn’t the first run-in between Jesus and the Pharisees. It would be, however, one key event of many that would eventually have the Pharisees collaborate with the Sadducees and Herodians to have Jesus murdered. They feared Him. They feared His popularity among the people. They feared His implausible and inexplicable power to heal the sick, to free the demonized, and to raise the dead. They couldn’t refute His power. He had done it all and a number of the Pharisees had witnessed them. So amazing were these feats that some of their own rank had broken rank and become believers and followers of Him.
They feared Him. They hated Him. This wouldn’t be the last of the run-ins either. Other run-ins would be even stronger and more contentious. Jesus of Nazareth was one of those people that you either loved or hated. If you knew anything about Him, you either loved Him or hated Him, worshiped Him or loathed Him.


There was no neutrality, no middle ground of feelings, no straddling the fence. Sometimes it seemed as if Jesus picked a fight with the Pharisees; but He didn’t. He used occasions like this Sabbath day to expose the errors of Pharisaism, their traditions and rituals, to teach and explain the true spiritual intent of the law and the prophets and God’s given truth. In this instance, it was about the Sabbath day and on it.

In recounting this event, Matthew first showed the great misunderstanding that focused on Him. Some Pharisees were traveling alongside of the Lord and His disciples when they passed through the cornfield and the disciples became hungry and, being hungry, they plucked some ears of corn, pulled off the husks and began to eat. The Pharisees immediately took exception to their action and said to Jesus, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (2). The misunderstanding wasn’t on the part of the disciples and Jesus, but by the Pharisees who believed they knew the law but did not. The Law of Moses said, “When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn” (Dt. 23:25).


H. A. Ironside wrote in his commentary, “There was absolutely no prohibition in the law of Moses in regard to this, but in the traditions of the elders there were many added laws and regulations that made it at times almost impossible for the ordinary man to know whether he was violating one of them or not. Among these rules was the prohibition to gather fruit or grain of any kind upon the Sabbath day, and even to rub it out in the hand as the disciples were doing seemed to these Pharisees a violation of that which they regarded as sacred.” To demonstrate the flawed teaching and tradition of the Pharisees regarding their interpretation of the Sabbath and the law, the Lord cited an incident from the life of David when he and his men entered the house of God and ate the “shewbread that was not lawful to eat” except for the priests (1 Sa. 21:5-6). David ate even though it was ‘unlawful’ for him to do so, yet the Old Testament did not condemn him for his act.

Therefore, the Pharisees should not condemn Jesus’ disciples for doing something Scripture did not condemn David’s men for doing. Jesus was arguing that His authority should override the Law more than their view of the Sabbath should. Furthermore, if they wanted to be strict interpreters of the law, technically, the priests broke the Sabbath law every week when changing the consecrated bread and offering the burnt offerings the Law specified for the week (5). Were they violating their law? They were not. The Law considered the priests guiltless (innocent) for doing this ‘work’ on the Sabbath. The point in these two illustrations is that “even a divine prohibition, if it relates to mere ceremonial matter, melts, like wax, before even bodily necessities” (Alexander MacLaren). Mark summed up this point with the words of the Lord Jesus, when He said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mk. 2:27-28).

Apparently on the same Sabbath day, maybe just a few hours after the first incident, Jesus and the disciples entered the synagogue where the next confrontation occurred. The Pharisees were waiting and a man with a withered hand was in attendance. It’s within the realm of possibility that this was a staged event by the Pharisees who planted the man and hoped to entrap the Master. Jesus had just declared to these infidels that he was the Lord of the Sabbath, now He would demonstrate it to them in the great mercy that flowed from Him. The Pharisees asked, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him” (10). Answering them, Jesus said, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep?


Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days” (11-12). The malice of the Pharisees was countered with the mercy of the Physician, and Jesus said, “Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.” To these legalists, ritualism was more important than restoration. Ceremony was more important than compassion. Their cause (the law) was of greater importance than a cured man. Their darkened heart revealed their deep hatred of Christ as “the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (14). Spiros Zodhiates said on this, “They actually thought that preserving the law of the Sabbath and even killing someone for breaking it was more important than showing mercy to a suffering person. In contrast, Jesus did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it (Mt 5:17).” In seeking to destroy Jesus, however, they damned their own soul.

Knowing the thoughts and intents of the Pharisees, Jesus withdrew Himself and left. When He departed from there, so did many others. Matthew was impressed with the great multitude that followed Him for he said, “great multitudes followed him”. This isn’t just an incidental (secondary) note, nor is it insignificant. The unnumbered many were watched everything Jesus did and listened intently to the exchange that took place between the Pharisees and Him. The significance of this truth is formed in the verb followed. Where His works and words were rejected by Israel’s spiritual leaders, they were received by the ordinary man and woman. Some who followed Him were insincere and uncommitted at this point. Many, many others, however, were now inquisitive and sincere followers. One writer has commented that followed can be interpreted to mean that they had become believers and were now His disciples.

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. The question really is, is He the Lord of you?

The Bible

I ran across this and thought I would share it. It made me think for a long time. Among other things, the Bible is a very honest book. It tells us when our heroes mess up.

The Bible tells us, for example, that after Noah filled an ark with a bunch of stinky animals, bobbed around in the ocean, and came to the new place God created for him, he went out and got drunk.

The Bible also tells us that Abraham, the father of faith, lied on multiple occasions.

David, the man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and then effectively committed murder to hide his adultery.

The mighty Samson, who could do supernatural feats of strength with the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, made many bad decisions and reaped the consequences.

When we come to the New Testament, we read of Simon Peter’s sins and lapses.

Now, if it were up to me, I would have left all those unfavorable details out. But the Bible includes them because they happened.

On the other hand, we read of other men and women of the Bible and don’t find any accounts of them compromising or struggling with any sin. It is not that they didn’t, but the Bible doesn’t mention it.

We don’t know of any sin that Joseph committed, except maybe bragging to his family about his dreams and being a little too proud of his cool coat.

Also, we don’t read of any sin that Daniel or his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego committed.

So, we see that some believers struggled more than others. Here’s what it comes down to: we choose what kind of Christian life we want to live.

If you want to live in constant struggle with sin, you can live that way. Or, you can live in newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit, which has been provided for you by Jesus Christ through the cross.

Holy Spirit

We ask our Father to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Then we ask Him to reveal to us what our gifts are. This is still a problem today. There’s a lot of ignorance about spiritual gifts.

Whether this is because we neglect our spiritual gifts or don’t understand them, we miss out on them. Maybe one reason is that we’ve seen excess in this area, causing us to recoil.

People sometimes do rather strange things in the name of the Holy Spirit. So we say, “Well, I don’t want that in my life.”

Yet, every believer has been given gifts of the Spirit if he or she is filled with the Spirit.

Jesus said, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13 )

God goes out of His way to find the most unexpected instruments to use for His glory. That includes you. He has given you spiritual gifts. Maybe you’ve never discovered them, so you need to start praying about what they are.

Make an effort, and see what you can do for God’s glory. Because the church needs you, and you need the church. We’re a family, though not a perfect one.

So, find your place, and when you do you’ll find that church will change radically for you.

Crucifixion

The crucifixion of Christ is a central doctrine of our faith, and understanding it correctly is essential for eternal life.

It’s important for us as believers to understand what happened on the cross—then we too can be thoroughly convinced of its supreme significance. It was not simply the execution of a Jewish man. What transpired in that event was the solution to mankind’s biggest problem: sin and our resulting alienation from God.

The crucifixion is the divine transaction that saves us. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin and reconcile us to the Father. Although the Jews and the Romans viewed the crucifixion as the execution of a criminal, God saw the death of His Son as the perfect atoning sacrifice, which allowed for the justification of sinful mankind.

Nothing else is required to pay for our salvation. To be saved, all we must do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins.

Baptism

Baptism is a symbol of the end of the old you and the beginning of the new you. It’s an outward showing of an inward doing, because regeneration takes place when we believe in Jesus.

The Bible tells us, Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4 )

By the way, there is God’s part and our part. God sanctifies us. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, “May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23 )

But then we need to cooperate with God. Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12–1)

Notice that Paul didn’t say, Work for your salvation. That’s impossible, because salvation is a gift of God. Rather, live it out. Experience it. Our salvation should affect us in our day-to-day choices.

Salvation is coming to Christ; sanctification is growing in Christ. Salvation happens in a moment, bringing a sinner from spiritual death to life; sanctification is an ongoing process.

Salvation is being forgiven of the past; sanctification is breaking free from the power of sin. This is something God does in our lives, and it never stops until we get to Heaven.

AMERICA IN CRISIS

The current election indicates a division in our country, and we have been hearing that repeatedly through the media – television, and radio, and in print – that our country is greatly divided. We can see how severe the division is because of the closeness of the vote. But the current election, with all of the pundits, and all of the commentators, and all of the words that have been offered toward this particular event is not really properly understood. I haven’t heard anything that really properly grasps what’s going on. And I’m going to tell you what I think is going on from a biblical perspective, and from a Christian perspective, and I’m going to point out what I think is the real division.

This is the division that is so disturbing to Christians, and it’s not about economics, and it’s not about taxes, and it’s not about deficits, and it’s not about surpluses, and it’s not about prescription drugs, and it’s not about entitlements. And the division is really not about anything that is political or that is social. The fact of the matter is both candidates, in this time in American history, are in an environment where socialized economics, reallocation of wealth, big government, excessive taxation are firmly established and can only be slightly altered by either party – if at all.

And frankly, in those areas, it doesn’t matter who is president. There just isn’t that much difference. The division that disturbs us is not about any of that. The division that disturbs us is about the Bible; it’s about morality as defined by the scripture; it’s about Christianity and its place in American society.

To be honest, the current Democratic agenda is pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-lesbian, pro-feminist, anti-Christian, and exclusive of biblical standards. Essentially, no true Christian can support that agenda.

It’s a new day in America. What we have is a division about the Bible, about morality, about biblical standards. And that is what is so disturbing to us.

When Bill Clinton was elected the first time, back in 1992, most Americans – 63 percent – didn’t want him as president. It was known, at that time, that he was an immoral man; it was later confirmed time and time again. But you could see, during the eight years of his presidency, his popularity grew and his rate of acceptance and satisfaction getting higher and higher. The people, more and more, began to approve of him.

I’m convinced that by our next election, another generation of young people will have entered into voting age, and they will carry the attitudes that are pervasive in the culture today, and what was a 37-percent vote 8 years ago, and is now a 50-percent vote, could well be a 60-percent vote for the non-Christian, non-biblical, non-moral position.

This was confirmed to me in one interview I read, where a television commentator was interviewing Dick Morris, who was the White House secretary with the Clintons for a number of years before he was discredited by his own immorality. And he was asked by the commentator when Hillary Clinton won the state of New York if he could define her in one word. And he, without hesitation, answered, “Amoral.”

What we’re seeing in America is the death of morality. What we’re seeing in America is the death of biblical standards. What we’re seeing is the displacement of Christianity. Morality and biblical commitment are fading in our nation and fading before our very eyes. And Christians, frankly, I think, are disturbed not so much because we want Trump to win, but because we want the Democratic Party to lose. And it isn’t personal. We really would prefer one last hurrah for what is moral, one last hurrah for what is right and righteous and biblical. We would like to believe that we can hold on to a place in our society for God’s Word. But it’s a losing battle. I

I want you to turn to Acts chapter 14 for a moment, and I just want to make a couple of comments about a text there. In Acts 14, we get a perspective that I think is important. The apostle Paul, along with Barnabas, in this case, and anybody else who does what Paul did describes himself as a preacher of the gospel.

Verse 15 of Acts 14, about a third way into the verse, he says, “We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel. We preach the gospel to you in order that you may turn from these vain things” – that is idols, false religion – “to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” Paul says, “We are preachers, and we preach about the one and only God, the true and living God, and we preach to you the good news of that true and living God, that sinners can be reconciled to Him.”

Then in verse 16, he says, “In the generations gone by, He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without a witness.” And that’s the story of human society, folks: all the nations rise and fall; all the nations come and go. And in the midst of all of that, God always has His preachers who are preaching the gospel. He is never without witness, but the cycle is always the same.

Verse 16 says that in the generations gone by – you can look at all of human history – God permits all the nations to go their own way. There is no way to stop the cycle. Someone well said, “If men have learned anything from history, it is that men never learn anything from history.” And so, you have people today working feverishly to save America. To save America. And that’s very normal, and it pains us greatly to see the declining interest in the Bible, the massive effort to get the Bible out of the public discourse, to get the Bible removed as the standard for conduct and behavior and law.

But, folks, this is history, and history inexorably repeats itself. And the cynicism of the preacher in Ecclesiastes is justified when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” And he went on to say that history is an endless cycle of repetition. “That which has been now; that which is to have already been,” he said. And we are now in the cycle.

Men and nations follow the same path from glory to dust, from the heights to the depths, from great achievement to destruction. The beginnings are bright, and the beginnings are hopeful and filled with promise, but there’s always the slide and the drift, the spiritual entropy that takes over in a fallen world and catapults nations downward and downward into destruction. In fact, every baby born is a living illustration of the inevitable course of men and nations. Every baby is a single illustration, beginning in the loveliness of innocence and infancy; and moving through childhood and all of its bright, shining hope; and finally to adulthood and decline through maturity to the sad reality of death.

Our own nation is on that same path. America is caught in the doomsday cycle that has caught every nation and will until the Lord comes and establishes the glory of His own kingdom. We are a dying nation in a world of dying nations, and dying people. And for us, in America, it’s hard to swallow because we had particularly bright infancy. It all began with such a primitive beauty; it all began with people coming here, to this great land, to seek out freedom – freedom to express their love to Christ in a community of people who were devoted to the Word of God.

It was in that context that we established our Constitution. It was in that context that we established our Bill of Rights. It was in that context that we designed our government with all of its wonderful freedoms. It was in that context that we established our churches and our schools and our legal system.

The Bible was held high, and the Bible was the source of all truth and authority for life, both private and public. And God was at the center of our activity, and His name is even on our coinage. Worshiping God was a way of life, and churches were the hub of communities. There were great preachers and wonderful schools for teaching Scripture, and they all had a central place in the life of this nation. There was a standard, and there was a norm, and there was an absolute, and it was the Word of God.

But that was the time of America’s infancy, and as maturity came, we began to drift into degraded adulthood; it was evident. There were some voices that tried to call us back. The Edwards and Whitfield and Moody and others. There were preachers here and there, and churches here and there were crying out to try to stem the tide. But evil has prevailed, and we face the inevitable judgment of God.

It’s like what is going on right now. This so-called Pandemic, it is not any more death threatening than most any other virus. The press and the left have got everyone so suck into their scram that it is getting easier to destroy this country and President Trump. Don’t believe me, look around, check the facts, and if you don’t want to believe me then after you get your shot from the Gates foundation and they put their chip in you, you will be a believer then. Soon you won’t be able to go anywhere till you get your shot. It will be required. Check the track record the Gates foundation has in other countries. The death toll is very sad.

But again I’m just saying what I feel and what I know. Take the way you want it….

Holy Spirit

John 14:16-18

Let me ask you this, do you realize the Holy Spirit came at the moment of salvation to live permanently within you. And some who do realize this don’t understand who the Spirit is, how He works, or why His indwelling presence is so significant.

The Holy Spirit is a person, not simply a power or force and He, along with the other two members of the Trinity, was involved in creation. We know this because when God created mankind, He said “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. The plural pronouns in this passage refer to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that the Father would send them a Helper who would be with them and in them forever. Even though the Lord would no longer be physically present, He wasn’t going to leave them to fend for themselves like orphans. Instead, He promised to come to them through the presence of His Spirit.

Because of the crucifixion, today the Spirit is our leader, guide, teacher, and comforter. His presence in us means that we are God’s children and that God has upheld His promise to always be with us.

The truth does matter

I here a lot of people, not all Christians but some say, I want to here the truth. I want to know what is true. But that really isn’t what they are saying. If the real truth isn’t what they believe in, like, or how they are living, or just rubs them the wrong way it’s not true, or they won’t listen anymore. Almost reminds me of the stories in the Bible what Jesus was going through.

 

Today as a nation we are in trouble. We all know what’s going on right now, but that’s just a fraction of the problem. Our country’s political parties have all gone amuck. This sermon airs out a lot of things that have been going on for years and still is today. It sounds like he talking about the here and now. It only shows that nothing has changed. Just names and faces. If you want the truth then listen to one of my favorite Pastors that tell nothing but the truth. If you can’t handle it don’t listen

Follow the link below

A Nation in a crisis

Hoarding

Some people are serious hoarders. We’ve seen the shows about them on television. Over the years, they have stacked books, newspapers, and magazines from floor to ceiling and collected weird junk.

Now people are hoarding other commodities: toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

I think Christians, too, can hoard. I’m not talking about stockpiling reading material or paper goods, however. I’m talking about when they look at church and think, “What’s in this for me? How are you meeting my needs?”

Jesus said of Himself, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

A real mark of spiritual maturity is that you no longer perceive church, thinking about how you can be served. Instead, you look for ways to serve others. You have skin in the game. And that indicates you’re growing spiritually.

I guarantee that as you focus on helping others and ministering to others, you will be blessed.

Things You Might Not Know About Noah’s Ark

The point is, the story of Noah is well known in our culture (and well-commercialized). But we bet there are some things about this intriguing story documented in the Bible that you haven’t heard before.
Here are seven little-known facts about Noah’s Ark:

  1. NOAH IS A 10TH GENERATION DESCENDANT OF ADAM.
    While Cain and Able are probably Adam and Eve’s most famous (or infamous) kids, it’s no surprise that the couple instructed by God to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) went on to have more children. One of these—and the only other child of Adam and Eve mentioned in the Bible by name—was Seth. In a passage of Scripture often referred to as the “Generations of Adam,” Noah is listed among the tenth generation to be born from Adam and Eve, descendants of Seth.
  2. LIFE FOR NOAH GOT PRETTY INTERESTING AFTER HIS 500TH BIRTHDAY.
    Shortly after turning 500, Noah became a father. While he was raising his family, God told him to build the ark. Shortly after turning 600 Noah, along with his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law, entered the Ark as God literally opened the floodgates.
    By the way, before the flood, people appear to have lived a very long time—many hundreds of years. In fact, Noah’s grandfather Methuselah, who died in the same year as the flood, is the oldest man mentioned in the Bible at 969 years old!
    Granted, Noah’s life in his 600’s was pretty interesting, too, since that’s when he and his family spent about a year on the Ark then disembarked to a fresh new world. But we still think that raising three boys while single-handedly building a boat a third the size of the Titanic made for a memorable century in the life of Noah.
    And speaking of the Titanic…
  3. NOAH’S ARK WAS A THIRD OF THE SIZE OF THE TITANIC.
    The Bible records the measurements of the ark in cubits. At 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, the volume of the ark is estimated at about 1.5 million cubic feet, which is about a third of the volume of the Titanic. (By the way, bet you didn’t know that a cubit is not an exact measurement, but instead is the distance from a man’s elbow to the tip of his middle finger, typically between 18 and 21 inches).
    Some people argue that there’s no way Noah’s Ark could have held two of every kind of animal, but the numbers suggest otherwise. According to ark measurements, the big boat had about as much space as 250 railroad stock cars, which some folks have calculated can hold between 20,000 and 40,000 animals roughly the size of sheep.
  4. ARPHAXAD WAS THE FIRST POST-FLOOD BABY.
    At least he’s the first post-flood baby mentioned in the Bible. According to Genesis 11:10, Arphaxad, the son of Noah’s son Shem, was born two years after the flood.
  5. NEARLY 300 CULTURES AGREE THERE WAS A CATASTROPHIC FLOOD.
    According to scientist Dr. Duane Gish, there are more than 270 stories about a catastrophic flood from cultures around the world. Most of these stories bear similarities to the biblical story of Noah and the ark.
    Eight humans survived the flood and provided eye-witness accounts to future generations. So how did there come to be so many similar versions of the biblical account of the flood? It makes sense when you consider that in addition to the passage of time, language was confounded during the building of the Tower of Babel a couple hundred years after the Great Flood. These two factors undoubtedly contributed to the development of variants of the story.
  6. THE BIBLE TELLS US WHERE NOAH’S ARK LANDED. SORT OF.
    According the Genesis 8:4, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, a mountain range in Turkey. Many expeditions have searched for the ark on Mount Ararat itself, while other expeditions have focused on nearby mountains in Iran.
    References to sightings of an ark in that region of the world go way back. In fact, his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, Marco Polo wrote: “In the heart of the Armenian mountain range, the mountain’s peak is shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah’s Ark is said to have rested, whence it is called the Mountain of Noah’s Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises.”
    Bob Cornuke, president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute, cites Scriptures that support idea of the Ark settling in the nearby Elborz Mountains, which stretch from the borders of Armenia to Afghanistan. In fact, during an expedition there in 2007 Cornuke and his team discovered an unusual rock formation in the side of a hill, 14000 above sea level, that has the appearance of fossilized wooden beams. The formation is about 400 feet long, which fits the size of the Ark as described in the Bible. In addition, Cornuke’s team discovered sea life around the object—including thousands of clams—which suggests that the object was once in the ocean.
  7. PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEARCHED FOR NOAH’S ARK INCLUDE HISTORIANS, AN ASTRONAUT, AND A FORMER SWAT TEAM MEMBER.
    Expeditions to find Noah’s Ark have been underway since times of antiquity and have included people from many professions and walks of life.
    For example, did you know that former American astronaut, James Irwin—the eighth man to walk on the moon—led two expeditions to find the ark in the 1980s? During the 1982 expedition, Irwin was badly injured by falling rocks and was carried to safety on a donkey.

Honesty

Some people love to talk about how well-educated they are or how successful they are or how wealthy they are. If you are having a discussion, whatever your story is, they will top your story. They know more than you do, and on and on it goes. They think they’re God’s gift to humanity.

But, as someone has pointed out, cemeteries are full of indispensable people. We’re not as great as we think we are.

In other words, think clearly. Start with an honest self-evaluation. Have a balanced, realistic view of yourself.

The problem is that we sometimes envy the spiritual gifts that God gives to someone else. Maybe God has called you to preach, but you really want to be a musician and a worship leader. Or maybe you’re a worship leader and really want to be a preacher.

Perhaps you’re working behind the scenes, but you really want to lead the class. Or you’re leading the class but really want to be working behind the scenes.

If God gave you a gift, then develop and use your gift. It’s disobedient not to use it. Don’t think you’re better than you are. On the other hand, don’t think you’re worse than you are. Instead, see yourself honestly.

He has given you a spiritual gift. So, receive the gift, thank God for the gift, and start developing the gift. And be content and thankful with the spiritual gift that God has given to you.

Worry

One must understand that I’m not different than anyone else.

If you worry, what kind of faith do you manifest? “Little faith,” according to Jesus (Matthew 6:30). If you are a child of God, you by definition have a heavenly Father. To act like you don’t, nervously asking, “What will I eat? What will I drink? What will I wear for clothing?” is to act like an unbeliever in God’s eyes.

Christians who worry believe God can redeem them, break the shackles of Satan, take them from hell to heaven, put them into His kingdom, transform their nature, and give them eternal life, but just don’t think He can get them through the next couple of days. That is pretty ridiculous. We can believe God for the greater gift and then stumble and not believe Him for the lesser one.

The Worrier Strikes Out at God

Some might say, “Why make a big deal out of worry? It’s just a trivial sin.” No, it is not. I suspect many mental illnesses and some physical illnesses are directly related to worry. Worry is devastating. But more important than what worry does to you is what it does to God. When you give in to worry you are saying, in effect, “God, I just don’t think I can trust You.” Worry strikes a blow at the person and character of God.

The Worrier Disbelieves Scripture

It breaks my heart to hear some Christians say, “I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture,” but then live as perpetual worriers. That’s blatant hypocrisy. It is incongruous to say how much we believe the Bible and then live in doubt and worry that God won’t fulfill what He has said in it.

The Worrier Is Mastered by Circumstances

When you or I worry, we are choosing to be mastered by our circumstances instead of by the truth of God. The uncertainties and trials of life pale in comparison to the greatness of our salvation. Jesus wants us to realize it doesn’t make sense to believe God can save us from eternal hell, but can’t help us in the practical matters of life. The apostle Paul reflects a similar desire in Ephesians 1:18-19.

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