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#1 Resource Manager

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:28 AM

MINUTE MEDITATIONS

 

Robert Lloyd
 

A Great Age
 
There is the story about the disc jockey handed new copy just as he is about to announce the next number. He quickly reads it: “This next song is dedicated to John Jones who is 111 today.” He does a double take and exclaims, “My, but that is a great age!” After a second look he sees that he has made an error and rereads the copy saying, “This next song is dedicated to John Jones who is ill today.”
 
One hundred and eleven is a great age, but so is one hundred and one. Our father-in-law was born in 1884 in Birmingham, and as a boy he personally knew Bro. Robert Roberts. There are few, if any others, living today who could say that. He loves to talk about the past as most old folks do. Think of the things that have transpired since he was born. Most of the modern conveniences we take for granted today were unheard of when he was growing up. Turkey was in full control of Palestine and there were few Jews there; Russia had no military might; and the “sun never set on the British Empire.”
 
What would Brother Roberts think if he could see the world conditions that we see? What do we think as we see them? Are we so blasé and calloused that we are almost tempted to say, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation?”
 
Things have not really continued as they were from the beginning of the creation – it’s just that we have witnessed them come one at a time during our lifetime, and so we may not be as excited about them as we should.
As we see 2021 begin we wonder what will happen this year. It could very well be that 2021 will be the year of the return of our Lord, and that none of us will be here this time next year. We are living in a great age whether or not we are of a great age. Let us each live this year as if it were our last, whether we are 16, 60, or 101.
 
How can we do that? By realizing that there is really only one purpose for our individual existence. When Jesus comes to call us to his judgment seat, that moment is the end of our mortal life as we know it. At that point we will either become immortal and live forever, which will make 101 seem like a tiny speck of time, or we will be destroyed; and that will mean that our entire life of however many years will have been a total waste.
 
We are now determining which verdict will be ours. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom, so we know He wants us in it. What does 2021 hold in store for us that is more important than the kingdom? A new job, money, a sport, a new home? These things will seem unimportant when we face the Lord Jesus Christ and he asks us, “What have you done for me?”
 
How wise we are to decide to make 2021 our year for the Lord. It will be a great year if we do. It will be a disaster if we don’t, no matter what else we may achieve.
 
If we completely surrender ourselves to God this year, He will cause all things to “work together for our good” for “the eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.”
 
Some of the things that would have upset us and many of the trials that would have caused us concern will no longer bother us, for we, in 2021, will have learned in whatsoever state we are in, therewith to be content.
 
Yes, 2021 can be the best year of our life if we live it as if it were our last. Even if it isn’t, it will be better because we lived it wholly and totally for the Lord. Let us decide right now that this year we will surrender our lives to God. We join Paul in exclaiming, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me.”


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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:30 AM

Absence

 

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a familiar old saying with a lovely sentiment, but unfortunately it isn’t always true. Many lovers have returned to find their betrothed married to another.

 

But this saying is true when those separated are faithful and their love is strong. These will constantly think of the one that  is away, they will correspond, they will reject the opportunity to go out with another, they do nothing that would meet with the disapproval of their betrothed. To these “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

 

Those weak ones who rationalize, who excuse their unfaithfulness by saying that a little fun doesn’t hurt anyone, and besides who is to know about a few secret dates, will soon find that letter writing becomes more of a chore and soon the love that once burned so strongly will gradually grow cold and finally die.

 

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” only when those involved have the courage of their conviction and the will power to make temporary sacrifices for the anticipation of future happiness with their true love.

 

True Christians are waiting for their bridegroom (Christ) who has promised to take to himself his bride (his church) when he returns from heaven to set up his kingdom. The question each of us must ask ourselves is, does Christ’s absence make our heart grow fonder? Are we becoming more and more anxious for his return? Or are we having what we hope are secret infatuations with the world which are causing us to momentarily forget? The more ties we have with the world, the less anxious we are for his return. Our homes, our jobs. our hobbies. and our recreation can all become figurative lovers that compete against Christ for our time and affection. We must be true to our first love.

 

Peter has warned us of those who would say “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”.

 

Sometimes this question can come from an outside tempter, but it can also be detected as a small voice within us when we find that our interests and our duties fall in opposite directions. Of course, none want to admit that such a thought could occur to us, but then by our actions we often visibly display its result. Human nature is such a subtle thing that it is often possible to deceive even our own selves, but of course we are not deceiving Christ. When he returns he will know who are his own and who are not. In Christ’s parable of the virgins, some were wise and some were foolish. We need to remember that they were all virgins. It isn’t that the foolish were so wicked as much as they were foolish. They didn’t do anything very bad, but they just didn’t do anything. Absence made their hearts forget. They weren’t longing for his return although they were expecting it.

 

We are expecting Christ to return. Is his absence making our hearts grow fonder?



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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:31 AM

Accountability

 

Daniel Webster, when asked what was the greatest thought that had ever entered his mind, replied: “My accountability to Almighty God.”

 

This thought evidently hasn’t occurred to many people, at least it wouldn’t appear to be so from the way most people are living. Their lives reflect more “of an eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” attitude, than any thought of being held accountable to God.

 

When we stop to reflect just how great God is, and then remember that Jesus told us that not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without our Father’s knowing it, we can understand that everything we do is known to Him. In a general way, the whole world is accountable to God, for He knows when the sparrow falls, yet that is the end of the sparrow. So it is with most men. They live and die like a flower blossoming in the desert air. They are as though they had never been.

 

When we consider that by our knowledge of God, we place ourselves in an accountable position to Him and also become eligible to receive from Him that glorious prize of everlasting life that He has offered to those who do know Him and have kept His commandments, it truly becomes one of the greatest thoughts that has ever entered our minds.

 

In the hall which our ecclesia rents on Sunday, there is a plaque over the fireplace that says, “Knowledge is Power.” When we realize what power there is in the knowledge of God, it is truly staggering. It is knowledge that is able to make one wise unto salvation. This knowledge is so powerful it will bring dead bodies to life again in the resurrection at the last day. This knowledge is so powerful that it makes us accountable to Almighty God. James tells us that “him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Now the question is, when we know what we should do, when we realize that we are accountable to God, what do we do and how do we act? Paul warned the Romans that “Everyone of us shall give account of himself to God.”

 

Does our life reflect the fact that we understand the point Jesus made when he told us that every idle word that we shall speak, we shall give account thereof in the day of judgment? For by our words we shall be justified, and by our words we shall be condemned. Knowing this, Paul admonishes us saying, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

 

James warns us about the dangers of the tongue and all the trouble it can get us into. When we consider that God knows not only everything we say but even what we think, surely our accountability to Him is a thought we should never forget. Let’s hope we are not like the foolish servant who knew he was accountable to his lord yet took his talent and hid it in the earth. He knew his lord would return. He knew he would be held accountable for the talent. In spite of this, he did nothing. We need to be on guard that we are not foolish servants of the Lord hiding our talents in the earth. All we have to do is try. God gives the increase, but He won’t give it to us if we are sitting down.

 

Truly, knowledge is power. Paul’s desire was to know Jesus and the power of his resurrection. Knowledge, like faith, is useless if it’s all alone.

 

Actually Peter says it would be better not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after having known it, to turn from the holy commandment. Since we know, and we know we are accountable, let us, with God’s help, use our knowledge in works meet for repentance that at the coming of Jesus he will be pleased to say to us, “Well done.”



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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:31 AM

Addiction
 
If someone were to call us an addict, no doubt our first reaction would be to feel insulted. This need not be the case for the word addict means to devote, to give oneself up habitually. It is certainly in this sense that Paul tells us that “the house of Stephenas had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”
 
Unfortunately the word today is used mostly to describe those who are slaves to a bad habit such as tobacco, liquor or drugs. These people certainly are devoted to serving these vices and so the word aptly describes their slavery. We are all a slave to something, as Paul tells us, either to Christ or to sin. What are you addicted to? How wonderful to be addicted to ministering to the saints of God. This is the kind of addiction we need.
 
God really does need people. He needs us to do His work for He works through His children. When God told the children of Israel to make an holy anointing oil He gave them the recipe, yet He said it was to be made after the art of the apothecary. In spite of the fact that the exact ingredients and the exact amounts of each were Divinely specified, it still required the art of the apothecary to blend it into the holy anointing oil. The art of a man was used to serve God!
 
Those of us who are not cooks know that it takes more than just the recipe to make a cake. We can follow it to the letter and our creation will be nothing in comparison to the cake that mother used to make from the same recipe. The art of the cook is important to the making of a delicious cake.
 
So it is in our work in God’s vineyard, He wants us to use our art, our skill in ministering to the saints and if we do this faithfully then we are addicted or devoted in our work. The truth does not turn out peas in a pod. God wants us to develop our individualities, our skills, our arts for Him. God does not want uniformity but unity. The four Gospels all show the personalities of the writers while telling us the story of the life of Christ. Each was true, but each revealed the life of Jesus after the art of the writer. These men were addicted to a life of service to God and yet Peter and John were as different as day and night. Each loved the Lord and Jesus loved them both. Each served God with their whole hearts but their approach to things was entirely different. We need to remember that God made each of us different and He did not make a mistake when He made us. He made us with the capabilities of serving Him and we each need to become addicted to our work.
 
Let us find a work to do and do it with all our might. Let us develop our skill as did Bezaleel whom God chose and filled him with wisdom and understanding in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver and in brass. Speaking of him and his assistant, Aholiab, Moses says “them hath God filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work.”
 
God will fill our hearts with wisdom also if we have a mind to work. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; says Solomon. Become addicted to the work of the Lord. Use your skill, your art, your energy in God’s service. May we each respond as did Isaiah when he heard the Lord saying “Whom will I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”


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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:32 AM

Another Gallon of Water
 
A friend once handed us a card with the following message printed on it. “You’ll go thundering down in history like an extra gallon of water down Niagara Falls.”
 
We have never known a world that did not contain us and everything we are saying and doing seems so terribly important it is hard for us to imagine a world without us. It is possible to get so wrapped up in our own little circle that the truly important things of life are completely out of perspective. 
 
When we consider that extra gallon water over the falls, we laugh at its complete insignificance and yet most of the people who lived one hundred years ago have had just that much impact upon history.
 
We can do one of three things. One, we can decide to be just another gallon and fall unnoticed and mingle with the turbulent rapids of the world and end in oblivion. Two, we can decide that we want to make some kind of impression in this present evil world and give all our time and energies in trying to make a name for ourselves in the Who’s Who of today. To do this will require relentless dedication, knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. When and if we accomplish our goal of becoming, somebody, what will we have when we get there? The praise of man? Yes, perhaps, but the world is fickle and the heroes of today are forgotten tomorrow. If we should be so fortunate as to make a real mark in history what good will it do us? A few lines of type in the encyclopedia, perhaps a whole page, but what else? David commented on this saying “the wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being, in honour abideth not; for he is like the beasts that perish.”
 
The third alternative is to forget about thundering down in the history of man and devote our energies in getting our name recorded in God’s book of life. This too, requires relentless dedication, it requires knowing the right people (Jesus, Moses, Daniel, Peter, Paul, etc.) and it requires being in the right place at the right time. (Sunday school, meeting, lectures, and Bible Classes). 
 
We won’t be famous and our neighbors will have little to praise us about, but this won’t concern us if we have our names written in God’s book of remembrance for then we won’t go thundering down in history at all; we will be immortal saints with an unending future.
 
How much better it is to have a part in a never ending future than in a dead past. Instead of being an extra gallon of water over Niagara Falls, we will be part of that “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
 
It’s as plain as one, two, three. One is to die as the fool. Two is to achieve worldly honor and then perish. Three is to live and reign forever with Christ. Each day we are telling God by the way we live which of these three alternatives we have chosen.


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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:32 AM

Appreciation
 
It has been said that we do not appreciate some things until we lose them. Recently we received a letter from a brother who told us of his joy in regaining his sense of smell. It is common to take for granted the fact that we can smell the flowers see the falling leaves, hear the patter of the rain and feel the chill of the fall breeze. It is only when our eyes begin to dim and our ears cease to hear the chirping of the birds that we come to fully appreciate our God given senses which we had taken so much for granted.
 
It is this way with our spiritual gifts as well. We remember years ago when a young girl attended a Bible School and was aghast at the matter of fact way the young people took for granted the beauties of the Truth and the glorious hope of salvation that God has offered us. She had only just learned these things and their brilliance dazzled her eyes while the others seemed very nonchalant about this wonderful hope. Our teacher from England that year explained to her that those who have just come into the light are blinded more by its brightness than those who have become accustomed to it over a period of time.
 
While we recognize that this is true, we should each try to thank God every day for those things others accept as a matter of course. This thankful type of attitude toward life will keep us humble and happy. So many people are not happy because they fail to count the blessings that they have. Every morning when we get out of bed we should thank God that He has given us the health and strength to get up, for there are millions who are confined to bed. Certainly when we eat we should thank God that He has provided the food to nourish us. We are now painfully aware of millions who are dying because they do not have anything to eat. Do we complain because our hamburger is not steak or that our diet will not allow us to eat cake? There is a story about a man who complained because he had no shoes until he saw a man who had no feet. From God’s viewpoint do we appear like a bunch of squabbling, complaining children who are ungrateful for all that has been provided for us? It is a very useful exercise to sit down with pen and paper and make a list of all things that we can thank God for. The next time we pray let us thank Him for all He has done for us instead of asking Him for all the things we think we want.
 
David as an old man made a remarkable statement. The thoughts he has expressed should be remembered by us. He said “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.” There is tremendous comfort in this. It all depends on if we are His seed and we remember Paul telling us in Galatians how we do this. The fact is that if we belong to God then He will provide. He does not always provide what we want but He will always provide what we need. We know as parents that if we love our children we will not give them everything they ask for. The wise man Solomon who incidentally was very rich, taught us that we should pray saying, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
 
Thanksgiving is something we should celebrate everyday of our lives for we have so much to be thankful for. Let us thank our loving heavenly Father for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us not take for granted the smallest of His gifts. We know He cares about the little things of little people for Jesus tells us that even the hairs of our head are all numbered. Knowing this let us take courage and be thankful that “the angel of the Lord is on guard round those who fear him, and rescues them. Taste, then, and see that the Lord is good. Happy the man who finds refuge in Him!”


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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:33 AM

Are You Blocking The Way?

 

Will Rogers was a well-known, homespun-type philosopher and he once said, “Ever. if you are on the right path, you will still get run over if you just sit there.” This ties in with another saying, “If you are not on the way, you are in the way.”

 

We place a great deal of emphasis on being on that straight and narrow path that leads to life everlasting, but it is important that we are actually moving forward on that path.

 

We have all experienced the frustration of finding a car in the fast lane moving along at a slow pace. Many times these drivers cause accidents because they are in the way, and it is possible to be given a ticket for obstructing traffic by going too slow in the fast lane.

 

We are now trying to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me.” David declared, “I will run the way of thy commandments.”

 

Since Jesus is the way, and he said for us to follow him and David tells us to “run the way of thy commandments,” it goes without saying that we are on the move. Jesus told us that “if ye love me, keep my commandments” and this involves moving and doing.

 

The world is certainly on the move but they are going in the wrong direction. As Jesus said, “Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat.” The world is actually in the fast lane on the road to destruction. Hopefully, we have long ago taken the off ramp from the world and turned up that “narrow way that leads to life.” Jesus said that few are on the narrow way, so we are not concerned with the traffic snarls that embroil the world.

 

Just the same, we should not simply sit in the middle of the road and be in the way. How many have blocked the path of others who are endeavoring to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and made it difficult for them by being in the way on the way?

 

Paul speaks of those who put “a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

 

Jeremiah tells us about those who inquired of him “that the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.” Unfortunately, they said the right words but did not mean what they said and did not walk and do the thing that the Lord commanded.

 

We take great comfort in the fact that we can say with David of old, “I have chosen the way of truth” but now it is time for us to “run the way of God’s commandments,” beseeching Him to “teach me O Lord the way of thy statutes: and I shall keep it unto the end.”

 

Jeremiah, speaking on the Lord’s behalf, tells us to “ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

 

If we ask, we shall find the “good way;” if we seek it we will find it. We seek it and find it by doing our Bible readings as God instructed Joshua when He said to him, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”



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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:34 AM

Avoiding Sin

 

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”

 

Solomon asked these questions thousands of years ago and mankind is still trying to get just as close to sin as possible thinking they can escape the flames of the fire that has burned all their predecessors.

 

We are reminded of the story of the rich man who was interviewing prospective chauffer’s and asked each one how close they could drive to the edge of the precipice without going over. Each applicant tried to out-do the others by telling how close they could get except one man who said he wouldn’t go anywhere near the edge. This was the man that got the job.

 

We too, are steering a course through life and the narrow winding road has many steep precipices. Just how close to the edge do we want to get? At the start of our journey towards the kingdom sin is something that is very appealing to us, something we would love to do but mustn’t. As we grow closer to God and our love for Christ waxes hotter, sin becomes more and more abhorrent until finally to sin against God becomes something we would hate to do. Now we don’t get from one place to the other overnight but we shall never get there as long as we ride the edge of the road.

 

Just how do we get from the place where sin has strong appeal to the place where it does not? The answer lies in the way we think. If we think pure thoughts, it follows that our actions will be above reproach. If we allow our minds to wander over to the edge it’s only a matter of time until it falls over the precipice pulling us down with it.

 

The closer we stay to God the further we stay away from the edge and the hot coals. When we begin to rely upon our own strength and think we can go it alone without the help of our Lord we are beginning to get into dangerous territory. Certainly Solomon was a strong wise king who had been abundantly blessed by God and as long as he relied upon God he was able to make wise decisions. When he married outlandish women he soon began to think like they did, he got too close to the edge, and before he knew it he was worshipping the gods of his wives instead of the true and living God who had appeared to him. We have not had the advantage of God personally appearing to us but we do have the same advantages as all the faithful of all ages in that we can take all our affairs to God in prayer knowing He hears us. We also have in our hands God’s complete revelation (our Bibles) which many who lived earlier did not have. We have all the help we need to stay away from the edge and clear of the hot coals but we also have a free will and if we, like Solomon, insist on trying to take fire into our bosom or tread the hot coals we can expect the same burns that struck Solomon down.

 

Let none of us think we can succeed in reaching the Kingdom unscathed if we are flirting with the world in any way. Our love for God should make us abhor the evil that is in the world around us and if we still find it appealing at least let us have sense enough to turn our back upon it rather than snuggle up close and try to justify being on the edge.

 

Let us try a little game of mental gymnastics. Pick something in the world that truly attracts us but we would be better off without. Make it a matter of prayer, asking God’s help in overcoming our desire for it. Concentrate upon the things of God and stay clear away from it and soon we will be in for an experience which will seem like a personal miracle. Before we know it, the attraction will be gone! God’s hand is as ready to help us today as it ever was. Try it and see.



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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:34 AM

A Winning Combination
 
Former football coach Lou Holtz is credited with having said, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
 
All of us have ability; we are all capable of doing. God has given all of us abilities which we can use in His service. Jesus told one parable where every servant was given talents and another parable where each was given a pound. Some used their gifts and some did not.
 
The one who buried his talent lacked motivation. He would not even try. Those who increased theirs were motivated to work. A good attitude caused one to increase his pound by five and another by ten.
 
The question we each need to ask ourselves is: Are we motivated to action, and how much are we accomplishing because of our attitude? Are we filled with the desire to do well?
 
There are a great many people who have ability but will not use it. It is sad when we won’t use our God-given abilities to serve Him. He gave us whatever we have to use in his service and we can take no personal glory in our ability. It is a sin to bury our talent in the ground.
 
How do we get motivated to use what we have? A great coach is capable of motivating his players to give their all in an effort to win. Sometimes the goal of the championship ring or the thrill of victory is enough to get talented people to give their all.
 
Some of the greatest coaches who ever lived have their inspiring words recorded in our Bibles. If we will but read them, we can be encouraged to go all out for the Lord.
 
Paul was one whose words of encouragement should motivate us. He urges us to follow his example in saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” If we believe we can do all things, then let’s get busy trying to do all things.
 
One thing that must drive coaches mad is seeing talented athletes only go through the motions and not give it all they have. Do we think our Heavenly Father is any the less pleased with us when we do the same? He knows what we can do – for He made us! Do we have the audacity to sometimes say to our Creator, “I just can’t do it?” Of course we can do it. We have to try. The good news is He gives us the strength to do it if only we will try.
 
When Moses told God on Mount Horeb that he would be unable to speak effectively to Pharaoh, God helped Moses by giving him Aaron as a spokesman. But Moses grew into the job and soon was leading all the children of Israel, speaking to them the words God delivered to him on Mount Sinai, judging them and guiding them through the wilderness. God knew Moses’ abilities and gently helped him conquer his fears. God’s strength is perfected in weakness, so instead of focusing on our weakness, we must try our best to give it all we have, trusting in God to help us with our deficiencies.
 
In baseball, many a talented player has been kicked off the team for what is called “lack of hustle.” Our God wants to see us hustle as well, as we throw ourselves into doing His work. Solomon put it well when he said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.” Let us maximize our efforts to use our abilities in the Lord’s service so that we might be that good ground bringing forth fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred-fold, knowing that they which labor will reap the reward of everlasting life, by God’s grace.


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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:34 AM

A Pebble in Your Shoe
 
Recently we saw a sign which said something to this effect, “It’s not the mountain before me that is stopping me, it’s the pebble in my shoe that hurts when I climb.” It is true that we can sometimes scale great heights and then be defeated by something as small as a pebble in our shoe.
 
What is stopping us from scaling the heights that we want to climb for the Lord? Paul was persuaded that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 
If Paul could climb over all these obstacles on his way to the Kingdom, are we going to let a pebble come between us and our Lord? What could a pebble in our shoe represent in our walk to the Kingdom? Could apathy and indifference be our pebble? What about laziness or boredom?
 
Recently, we read that over one half of all the people in the United States and Canada are bored. It went on to say that 75% of those over 65 are bored. It seems to be true of many young people today as well, for they often look bored and they frequently act bored with life.
 
How could anyone in love with Jesus Christ be bored? We are living in exciting times just prior to his return to this earth to make all the wrong things right. Life for us should be filled with joy, with excitement, with anticipation. People who are bored usually lack commitment. Even people committed to a worldly goal are less likely to be bored than those with no goals at all. The Psalmist tells us, “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” Total commitment to the Lord will reduce the pebble in our shoe to its proper size and we will be off and running up the mountain oblivious of the minor discomfort to our foot.
 
Contrast this with the bored, apathetic, lazy person who has nothing to do but think about that pebble. Life is full of pebbles but we have mountains to climb. “This is the day which the LORD hath made.” Now what are we going to do with it? Mope around because of the pebble in our shoe? Think about all our aches and pains, feel bored and maybe even go back to bed? Solomon tells us about the slothful man who said, “yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.” “As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.”
 
The lazy, the slothful, the bored lie in bed or get up only to complain about the pebbles and all their other aches and pains while those who are totally committed to the Lord are leaping for joy. A pebble in the shoe doesn’t hurt when one is airborne and Jesus told us to “leap for joy.” Do we think he really meant this, or was our Saviour just saying words? He tells us to “leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven.”
 
How exciting our life should be! What a great God is our God! What a wonderful hope is our hope! Truly we “will rejoice and be glad in this day which the LORD hath made.” “We can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.” We have committed our way to the Lord and He will bring it to pass. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God. A pebble slow us down? Never! Are we committed? Are we persuaded as Paul was that “neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


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Posted 11 January 2021 - 10:15 AM

Acceptance
 
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things which I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
 
There is a world of wisdom in this little prayer, wisdom which we will all do well to acquire. There isn’t any use trying to move an immovable object and while we may expend a great deal of energy, we shall surely end up a frustrated failure.
 
On the other hand, if we assume that nothing can be done, we shall surely do nothing when there is so much to do. The crux of the matter is having the wisdom to know what to accept and what to change.
 
Paul is an excellent example for us to follow in this. God had given him a thorn in the flesh. Three times Paul asked God to remove it but God declared, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Paul’s attitude should be ours, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities.” Paul had a problem, a thorn in the flesh. He tried to get it removed by asking God, but when God showed him His grace was sufficient, Paul accepted it gladly.
 
When we have a problem, an affliction, or an obstacle, let us do our best to solve, cure or remove it, but when we find that it is immovable, let us learn to accept it serenely and learn to live with it.
 
The only thing to do with a wooden leg is learn to walk on it. There isn’t any use moaning over it and thinking about what might have been.
 
Let us learn to accept life as God has given it to us and make the best of what we have. We have the comfort and consolation of Paul that “God is faithful, who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it.”
 
The problem is, we do not always look for God’s way of escape but instead trust in our own strength. Consequently we are sometimes crushed by things that we shouldn’t have even been near.
 
We believe that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” If all things are working together for our good, let us then accept each day as a challenge, meeting our obstacles with courage and serenity, changing the things that can be changed and accepting the things which cannot be changed.
 
With this attitude, we can wake up each morning with the calm assurance of David who declared, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”


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Posted 12 January 2021 - 10:42 AM

Actions Speak ...

 

“Actions speak louder than words” is an old, old saying that most of us have heard since childhood. While no one questions its truth, we all continue to say one thing with words and quite another thing with our actions.

 

We often wonder who we think we are fooling? Certainly not God, usually our families and friends are on to us, so perhaps it is only ourselves that we are kidding.

 

We may say that the truth is the greatest thing in our lives and that we love the Lord with all our hearts, yet when the time comes to take our place at’ lecture or a Bible class we are too tired, too busy or too something to go.

 

Perhaps others have heard us say that we regard television as a wonderful invention but a terrible waste of time and consequently we rarely watch it, yet when someone mentions seeing a particular show, we chime in that we also saw it, and a few minutes later we catch ourselves describing something we saw on another program.

 

All too often, we have the real reason for doing or not doing something, and this we keep to ourselves while we have a whole string of excuses which we give as the reason we did or did not do it. We sometimes chuckle when we see a little child doing this because it is so easy to see through but aren’t we to grow up? Paul said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

 

We need to be honest with ourselves. We need to realize that our actions are speaking much louder than what we say.

 

It isn’t necessary to tell others that we love the Lord with all our hearts, because if we really do, it will be abundantly clear by the way we act and the things we do. Conversely we can scream from the housetops how much we love the Lord and it won’t convince anyone if our actions show that God is completely crowded out of our lives.

 

This is the very point that James was making when he said “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

 

We need to have a living faith, not a dead faith. Without works, or action, faith is dead. Jesus put it another way when he said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The fig tree that Jesus saw covered with leaves but having no fruit was like a man full of words but no action. We remember that Jesus condemned that tree and it withered away and died.

 

Jesus is the husbandman of the vineyard. We are the trees. Soon he is coming to see what kind of fruit we have. What will he find?

 

It’s not enough to be covered with leaves, there must be fruit. It’s not enough to talk a good fight. Paul said he had fought a good fight, and this denotes action. Remember, “actions speak louder than words.” What are our actions saying?



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Posted 13 January 2021 - 03:26 AM

Ambassadors for Christ
 
The U.S. has just re-elected its president and by the time this goes to press his inauguration will be a thing of the past.
 
Living in the world, it is easy to be caught up in the affairs of it we are not careful. We need to follow the example of just Lot, who was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. Peter tells us that Lot “dwelling among them in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”
 
Paul says that we wrestle against the “rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
 
Wickedness in high places is no less true today than it was in Paul’s day and age and this is one of the reasons that we as soldiers of Christ cannot get involved even in the slightest degree with the affairs of this world.
 
Our candidate did not run in this last election. When he comes to rule the world with a rod of iron, he will not need to campaign for he is coming to take by force the kingdoms of this world. Right now he has members of his party quietly working to prepare a people for him who will be members of his ruling party when he comes. It seems inconceivable doesn’t it, that these faithful members of Christ’s party could be involved in any way with another political party which is to be overthrown by Christ at his coming. It is impossible to be in the service of two countries at once. If we are soldiers for Christ then we cannot serve or help choose any other commander in chief. If we seek a heavenly country, then we must be “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” as were the faithful of old who died in faith.
 
Paul tells us “now then we are ambassadors for Christ.” We know that an ambassador in a foreign country is very careful to obey the laws of that country in which he is residing but he wouldn’t for one minute get involved in their internal political affairs. He must remain aloof and yet obey the laws of whatever party is in power, at all times remembering that he is a representative of his own country and that he does not belong to the country in which he is residing. We do not belong to this world. Jesus said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
 
Joshua told his people, “If it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Instead of mentioning the Amorites as Joshua did, we can substitute the Republican and Democratic parties. Amos asks the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Can a brother or sister of Christ walk together with the world? Christ’s platform cannot be found in the political arenas of today. We must say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
 
AII those who look for Jesus who has “redeemed us to God by his own blood out of every kindred, and tongue and people and nation” and is coming to make us “unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” will refuse to get involved with the kingdoms of this world.
 
Paul asks, “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.”
 
Truly the most high is ruling in the kingdoms of men and He appointeth over it whomsoever He will, but He certainly does not need our vote to help Him nor do we even know who He wants to set up and remove. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.”


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Posted 14 January 2021 - 09:23 AM

Apply What You Know
 
There is a story about a college professor who developed a revolutionary new formula and was invited to travel from college to college as an after dinner speaker to explain his discovery. He was furnished a limousine with a chauffeur who accompanied him and heard him give the exact same speech every night, months on end. As they were driving into a small mid-west town one evening the professor complained of not feeling well and suggested that he and the chauffeur exchange positions since no one there had ever seen either of them and the chauffeur could pose as the professor and give the talk for him. The chauffeur was quite agreeable to the suggestion since he had heard the talk so many times he knew it by heart. Everything went quite well until after the talk, the chairman announced that they were going to entertain questions from the floor for the professor to answer. The first question was quite long and involved and so the chauffeur rose to his feet, smiled, and thanked the questioner for asking it, and explained that since it was such a simple question, he was going to let his chauffeur answer it for him.
 
Could we be like the chauffeur? Do we know a set of canned beliefs but we are unable to answer a question or offer an explanation if we are called upon to give an answer for the hope that is within us?
 
Do we know facts by rote but we are unable to apply those facts to our everyday life in a practical way? Unfortunately there are a lot of people in the world who know a great many “facts” but seem not to be able to use these “facts” in a way that has any useful benefit.
 
The college professor not only knew the formula but he also knew how to apply the knowledge for useful purposes. The chauffeur knew the speech but did not have a clue as to how ta apply what he knew.
 
Do we know the first principles of the truth but yet in our every day worka-day life we seem not to be able to apply what we know to how we live? It is important that we know the truth.
 
It is equally important that we live the truth. Since we know that we are only going to receive as much mercy as we show how can we then treat one another the way we do? How can we be so demanding upon others, and so lenient with ourselves?
 
The chauffeur may have known the professor’s speech and could recite it perfectly, we may know the truth backwards and forwards, but if we do not apply that which we know, what good is it?
 
In fact, our knowing and not doing, could be a lot worse than not knowing. Peter tells us that “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
 
Are we properly applying the knowledge we do know? How has the truth changed our lives, not by what we know, but what we do, not by what we say, but by our actions? The chauffeur could give a good talk, but he did not have a clue how to answer a question or apply the knowledge that he had heard.
 
The truth must have a profound effect upon our lives. It is not just something to know. not just something to believe, although all that is important, it is something to do, a way of life to live.
 
Let each of us ask ourselves these questions. How is my life different because of what I know? How is my life more godly because I love God? Do I treat others differently because of my love for Jesus? “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” said Jesus. “And whoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
 
The way some of us treat others in the name of Jesus Christ must make him weep. It isn’t that we do not know the truth, it is that we do not show the love that Jesus demanded of his followers. And we do it all in his name?
 
Jesus got down on his hands and knees and washed the feet of Judas Iscariot even after Judas had made his agreement to betray him. Would we do that?
 
God speaking through Isaiah describes how we can cast out our brethren while we are saying ever so piously, “Let the Lord be glorified.” God goes on to tell us that “He shall appear to your joy” (the ones being cast out) “and they shall be ashamed.” (the ones who were casting out their brethren).
 
Let us not be like the chauffeur who knew all the right words but could not apply them. One of our hymns concludes with the line, “Help us this and every day to live more nearly as we pray.” We need to ask God to help us so that we may live more nearly as we know as well as we pray.


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Posted 15 January 2021 - 08:59 PM

Are You a Duck?
 
If you walk like a duck and quack like a duck, don’t be surprised if people think you are a duck. Don’t advertise what you are not, unless you want people to think you are what you are not.
 
This advice can be applied to every facet of our lives. We have all known young girls who dress in such a way that they advertise something they say they are not. If they are not that kind of girl, why are they advertising that they are?
 
Many people talk in such a way that everyone thinks they are a certain kind of person, yet they claim that they are not. Why are they talking this way if they are not this way?
 
Paul tell us to “abstain from all appearances of evil.” By the way we dress, by the things we say, we can easily give the impression that we are other than what we want God to believe that we are.
 
We are also known by the company we keep. If our friends are all ducks, we are almost certain to be thought of as a duck.
 
Are our dress, our conversation, and our friends all in keeping with our high calling? If not, why not? These things really do say a lot about us. Are we satisfied with what they are advertising us to be?
 
Would you want Jesus to see you in what you wear to the beach or swimming pool? He does see you even though you do not see him. Would you tell him the stories that you share with your friends when you are all relaxing in a casual atmosphere? He does hear what you say to them. Would you like to introduce your Lord to the friends you choose when you have a choice as to whom you want to be with? He does know who your friends are.
 
These kinds of thoughts boggled the mind of David and he says so in Psalm 139. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
 
The Lord Jesus tells us, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
 
God knows even what you are thinking. We need to solve the sobering problem of not being mistaken for a duck by putting bird-brain thoughts far from us.
 
We are what we think and what we think will affect how we dress, who we associate with, and what we talk about.
 
Since God knows our thoughts, let us guard carefully what we think by associating with those whose thoughts are godly. Let us be careful what we read and hear, for these things will surely affect what we wear, where we go, and what we think. If we work at it diligently, we will put away duck-like thoughts and then duck-like quacking and duck-like walking will stop.
 
“They that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD and that thought upon his name.”


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Posted 15 January 2021 - 09:54 PM

Are You Lost?
 
There is an old story about the man driving through the country side who became hopelessly lost. Spotting an old farmer sitting on a fence, he pulls up and gets out of his car to inquire about directions. “Mister, can you tell me how to get to Centerville?” “Nope” says the farmer. “Well, can you tell me where Highway 14 is? “Nope”, replies the old man. “Can you tell me how far it is to the border?” “Nope,” was the answer once again. “You don’t know much, do you?” the exasperated city dweller finally said in disgust. “Well, I know I ain’t lost,” drawled the farmer.
 
If we aren’t going anywhere we might just as well be lost because we can’t just sit on the fence all day if we want to please God. He is looking for those who are willing to get up and move. It is important to find the right way. There is a broad way and a narrow way and there are those sitting by the way not going anywhere. Solomon tells us about going by the field of the slothful. Perhaps he was sitting on the fence like our farmer friend. His field was all grown over with thorns and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall was broken down. Solomon learned a lesson by observing this slothful man and we can too. He said that “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”
 
There are a lot of people who don’t know where they are, where they are going or how to get there but are content to sit by the side of the road and snooze. Life is passing them by and while they are really lost, they don’t even know it because the surroundings look familiar.
 
One thing can be said for the man asking for directions. At least he was trying to find his way. It’s not a sin to be lost, only to stay lost. We are all born lost, and it is up to each one of us to find the way. It is important to find the right way for as Solomon said, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
 
As many a man knows who has been lost in the woods, there is a way that seems right that is dead wrong. Our instincts sometimes play tricks on us. If we have a compass that tells us which way is north and our instinct tells us something else, we are wise to have faith in our instrument and follow it.
 
In searching for the right way of life we have a compass. It is unfortunate that so many judge God by their own ignorance and choose to ignore His compass. As a result, they strike out over the sands of time following their own instincts, or what someone else has told them. Jesus compared them to blind men leading blind men and he said they would all fall into the ditch.
 
We are wise if we say with David of old, “Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way therein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee ... Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”
 
If our goal is really to reach the land of uprightness God will show us the way and lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.


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Posted 16 January 2021 - 08:28 AM

Backwoods Wisdom
 
"The backwoods philosopher loved to sit in his old rocking chair and tell the younguns, “You kain’t teach what you ain’t never lern’t anymore than you can come back from where you ain’t never been.”
 
Although his grammar may leave something to be desired his WISDOM and understanding shines through. It is true that you cannot teach someone something that you do not know. As brethren and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to share the good news of the coming kingdom with those we know and meet, but we cannot teach what we have not ourselves learned. For this reason it is necessary for each of us to not only know the truth but also know how to give an “answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and reverence.”
 
Who else does God have on this earth to tell the perishing world the truth as it is in Jesus? If we do not do it who will? Now it should be our pleasure as well as our duty to tell this good news to all we know.
 
Does everyone who knows you know of your love for God? Is your love of God and love of the truth so strong, so much a part of your life that it is shining through to all you meet? You may be the only Bible some of your friends have ever read. Paul told the Corinthian brethren that they were his “epistle written in his heart, known and read of all men.” What is the gospel according to you?
 
In the business world, a person with a fantastic product takes pleasure in telling all who know him of its attributes. A real sports fan loves to tell the details of their perfect game in bowling, or their hole in one, or the big fish that got away or the smaller one that didn’t.
 
Is our love for Jesus less than the world’s love for the things of this life? We have had a number of successful Christadelphian businessmen confess that they feel much more comfortable talking about their business than they do the truth. If this is true, we need to work at changing things. We all admit that the truth is the most important thing in our life but we may not live or talk like this was the case. Remembering that “you kain’t teach what you ain’t never lernt,” we need to learn how to ask leading questions that will bring the conversation we have with those of the world around to the things of the truth. We must not say “we can’t.” Of course we can, but only if we believe and know the truth and love it enough to want to share it with others.
 
In our experience, questions are better door openers than statements. When someone mentions inflation ask the question, “Have you ever heard the Bible’s description of inflation?” You will usually get a “no” and then you can tell them how Haggai explains it as “earning wages to put into a bag with holes.” When someone mentions world conditions, ask them if they are excited about the fact that it is two down and one to go concerning the three nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:5. These have been on the side of the western nations and now are securely in, or are going into the Soviet block. When they express their amazement, gently tell them about Persia (Iran) Ethiopia and Libya. When someone tells you of a friend with cancer or heart trouble, ask if they are looking forward to the time soon to come when “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” They may not understand when that will be and you will have an opportunity to share the good news with them.
 
The more you practice, the more proficient you become. Talking to your friends and even strangers becomes an exciting experience as you look for openings in the conversation to bring out a question that will help you share the good news you know with those who don’t. If you don’t know how, learn how, because you “kaint teach what you ain’t lernt anymore than you can come back from where you ain’t never been.”


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Posted 18 January 2021 - 09:01 AM

Be Courteous

 

When H. L. Mencken was asked the secret of happiness in marriage, he answered with just one word, “courtesy.”

 

He was right. Why is it that we are sometimes more courteous to total strangers than we are to the most important person in our life? Courtesy is love in action. Peter exhorted us to “have compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”

 

Good manners have been described as being like “the zero in arithmetic. They may not be much in themselves but they are capable of adding a great deal to the value of everything else.”

 

When we think of our marriage as being a type of Christ and his bride, can we imagine either Christ or his bride being rude and thoughtless to each other? Paul tells us, “husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it ... so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.”

 

True love is courteous. True love is kind. True love is not easily provoked. True love is good manners. In marriage, like in everything else in life, as we sow, so shall we reap. If we are kind, thoughtful, courteous, even when we don’t feel like it, we will reap blessings in our marriage. A beautiful garden reflects the tender loving care of its owner and a neglected garden tells us that its owner doesn’t care. So it is in marriage and in all other relationships we have with our families and our brethren and sisters in the Lord.

 

It requires effort to be courteous. It requires thinking in advance of the needs and wants of others. We need to think ahead in order to notice that their cup is almost empty or that they will need a clean shirt before they can go out. It requires thought to run ahead in order to open the door to assist someone in or out of the car or house.

 

Courtesy is love in little things. As the old saying goes, “Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.” By making a conscious effort to be kind and thoughtful, to be courteous in the little things of life, we find that many of the big things take care of themselves.

 

Please do not think that this is directed only to those who are married. Courtesy and good manners are important to all of us, young or old, married or single, male or female, rich or poor. We can all be courteous. Perhaps we have all been guilty of not being kind or thoughtful or courteous to those we love the most. How would we treat Jesus Christ? “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” said Jesus. Do we treat others as we would like to be treated?

 

We well remember hearing of the man leaving work after a hard day, saying to a fellow employee that he was going home, and if dinner was ready he was going to refuse to eat it, and if it wasn’t, he was going to create a scene. That poor wife couldn’t win. Can we picture that husband as being a type of the Lord Jesus Christ? What hove would we have if our heavenly bridegroom was to judge us this way? No wonder King David said, “let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.”

 

Let us remember that courtesy is the secret to true happiness, not only in marriage, but in life and let us truly do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We all like to be treated courteously so let us follow the advice of Peter when he said, “Have compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”



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Posted 19 January 2021 - 09:19 AM

Be Ye Merciful
 
Recently we were listening to a radio broadcast of a championship game and the fans were booing one of the stars so loudly that the commentator began to discuss the habits of fans in booing athletes. One remark he made has stuck with us. He said, “Only saints want justice, the rest of us want mercy.” The avid sports fan demands justice and perfection in others. When their star fails to perform as they think he ought they give him the famous “Bronx cheer.” Certainly a dedicated athlete trying his best does not welcome this kind of treatment, but that’s the kind he gets from his public just the same. The booing fan couldn’t do nearly as well himself, yet he feels justified in giving the poor struggling player a piece of his mind for failing to come through in the clutch.
 
No wonder David declared, “Let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” Solomon said that “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
 
It certainly is true that we are going to need all the mercy we can get. Why then does man demand justice for others when he is in such need of mercy himself? It’s the old story of the mote and the beam. It’s so easy to overlook the big plank in our eye while finding fault with the tiny speck in our brother’s eye. Human nature has always been this way.
 
It is interesting to note that Jesus who did no sin was far more merciful and forgiving to the woman “taken in adultery, in the very act” than were her accusers who had been guilty of sin. In fact, some believe that the Greek text indicates that Jesus said, “He that is without this sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Although her accusers were also sinners and in need of mercy themselves, yet they demanded their form of justice for her. This type of thinking is still prevalent. We find the most vocal sometimes to be the one whose own private lite would indicate that they should be the most forgiving of others. This is true in the ecclesia as well as in the sports world. Why do we frail human beings make such a big thing of another’s short comings when we have so much to be forgiven ourselves?
 
Jesus makes it very plain when he says that God is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. We sometimes have the twisted idea that we are doing God a service when we are NOT kind to the unthankful and the evil. Somehow we are holding up the banner of God’s truth by persecuting the evil. Certainly we are not to join them in their evil, but Jesus couldn’t have made it more clear that we, while not partaking of their evil, should be kind to them. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful,” says Jesus.
 
Christ taught us that we are going to receive mercy in direct proportion to the mercy we have shown. This thought should loom very large in our minds the next time we are tempted to point an accusing finger at another. This does not mean we condone wrong doing or wrong doctrine. Certainly Jesus did neither, but he was merciful to the sinner for, he reminded the self righteous Pharisees that “they that are whole need not a physician.” Unfortunately Phariseeism is not dead and we must combat it as zealously as we combat wrong doctrine and living. Jesus did. No one denied the woman was wrong. Jesus simply was willing to forgive while other sinners demanded justice. Almost all problems we face in the brotherhood and with our dealings with one another could be eliminated if we just show as much mercy as we know we will need to be accepted by Jesus. At the judgment seat it will only be those who completely forgave others who will be recipients of Christ’s forgiveness. “Only saints want justice, the rest of us want mercy.” Let us be kind unto the unthankful and to the evil because God is. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”


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Posted 20 January 2021 - 04:47 AM

Birds of a Feather

 

“It is difficult to soar with the eagles when you work with a bunch of turkeys.” This sign was recently seen on a desk in a large office.

 

It is true that we are affected by those around us. Even if we regard our fellow workers as a bunch of turkeys, it should not inhibit our ability to soar above them. It may be difficult but it is not impossible. While we are in the world, we are not to be a part of it.

 

We cannot fly in formation with those of the world for they are all going in the wrong direction. If we really are part of their flock, then we are in trouble. Another old saying of the world is “birds of a feather flock together.” So while we may be working with a bunch of turkeys, we really do need to take off and soar above them as the eagles do.

 

Isaiah speaks of a day when “we shall mount up with wings as eagles.” If we hope to do that in the future, we are required now to leave the other kinds of birds to their gobbling and strutting. We need to get on with our service to our Lord by soaring above the turkey talk of the flock at work or school.

 

We may not like to think of some of our worldly associates as spiritual turkeys but we need to read carefully what Paul says. “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” It is a sad commentary on the human race that these sins are so common that we would have to leave the world in order to have no association with such people. If this was true in Paul’s day, it is also true today.

 

So what are we to do? We want to soar with the eagles and we are surrounded by turkeys. Well, by being an eagle, we can soar above them and not partake of their evil deeds.

 

Jesus prayed to his Heavenly Father on our behalf saying, “I have given them thy word, and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I request not that thou wouldst take them out of the world but that thou wouldst keep them out of the evil: of the world they are not, even as I am not of the world.”

 

So, we should not be discouraged that we have to work or go to school with a bunch of turkeys. The world is full of them but it is important that we continue to soar above them in the way we talk and act. Turkeys gobble and make a lot of noise but not much sense. That is a good parallel to empty and vain conversation. How often do we sound like turkeys?

 

It may be hard to soar with the eagles but its is not impossible, for if God is for us, who can be against us? With Paul we can say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

 

When our Lord comes, we had better not be strutting around the turkey pen with all the rest of the turkeys, sounding and acting like them. Jesus said, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

 

Let us make sure that we are as different from the world as eagles are from turkeys. Again the Master said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”






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