The Great Invitation
Jay Launius – Maud church of Christ Maud, Texas
Can you imagine receiving an invitation to freely attend the sporting event of your choice, complete with VIP accommodations? Or perhaps seeing your favorite music artist with front row seating and backstage passes at no cost? Not many of us would refuse such an offer. God has given all of us the greatest invitation of all-time. Listen to the prophet Isaiah...
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
Although this invitation was made long before Jesus came, God made good on His offer, and sent the Savior to make these promises possible. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), making it possible for us to taste the goodness of heaven. However, in the next verse, Isaiah warns of turning down the great invitation. “But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:20)
Having accepted God’s invitation and obeying the gospel through Jesus Christ, we can be forever grateful. If you have not given your RSVP to the Lord, then there’s no better time to do so than TODAY!
NOT ANSWERING A PREACHER REQUEST FOR SUPPORT.
By James Baker (minister of mt airy church of Christ)
Imagine yourself as an evangelist, who understands that he has permission from the Lord to sustain himself from the treasury of the church. 1 Cor 9:7-11. 2 Cor 11:8-9.
Next imagine yourself writing to a church inquiring about money in their bank account so you can have
Next, imagine those brethren reading your request and laying the letter aside as "unimportant" or throwing the letter in the trash.
What do you think about brethren who would do such a thing? Before we cry out how bad it is for a church to treat a preacher that way; lets make sure that our protest doesn't point at us. 2 Sam 12:5-7.
If we are apathetic toward preacher’s requests, feeling such letters are "burdens" or "junk mail".
"We are the man" 2 Sam 12: 5-7.
Nothing God expects the church to do can be junk mail. Because that is why the Lord has a treasury, so it can get such things done. The Lord has money in His bank account and He expects faithful men to receive some of the money. I'll take it farther and say that God expects brethren to have an interest in the preacher’s appeal and pay the man a decent wage. He certainly doesn't want a preacher’s request to be looked upon as "another man asking for money." Or complaining "I’m sick and tired of these preachers writing; don't they know we need new pews!" To avoid being "the man", we need to start considering support requests priority.
Brethren, listen to me, it is no picnic or day at the beach for any man who is seeking to raise support.
I promise you, every man who has to do such would much rather be doing something else. It isn't a pleasant
experience because of the way some churches treat appeals for support. We in Philadelphia like so many other churches on the northeastern coast are a small group. Even we get appeals from preachers seeking
support and we answer them back letting them know that we aren't able. If more churches would do so, that would make sleeping a little better for the preacher because he will know that no support is coming and he will then have to move forward with his next step.
I'm aware that some requests will come from unworthy men or those who may not even be preachers.
But still we don't know for sure and we need to be courteous and reply to them in some manner.
One thing a church could do is print a standard letter and have it ready to send to any man writing for support. The letter will explain why help can or cannot be given. That way, the preacher will at least get a reply and not be sitting around waiting for a phone call or letter that isn't coming.
It is said that the soldiers of the Alamo, sat for days waiting for help that never came. And even closer to home, we saw the citizens of New Orleans and the Gulf coast waiting and hoping for government help that also never came (until long after the fact). Why should brethren be guilty of causing the same stress upon preachers? Simply because they aren't interested in answering his request? The man is writing because it is urgent, for it is not an exercise for his fingers. Come on brethren, we are the Kingdom of Christ, we are better then that! 1 Pt 2:9. Col 1:12.
We must start doing a better job replying to men who write and we must also take more interest in using the Lord's money to support our brethren. Phil 4:14-19.
Now, I understand the parking lot needs paving, the roof needs fixing, etc. Those things will always plague us, but still I wonder how pleased the Lord is, when He sees the parking lot win over the man who needs money in order to preach? But we live in a non-perfect world where the things of God aren't always done.
So what is a preacher to do if brethren refuse to support him? He shouldn't start selling the items in his house in order to feed his family. And he shouldn't sit around waiting for a check that is not gonna come. Instead the preacher should go find secular work and do that until he can get support.1 Thess 4:11.
For even Paul worked secular so there is no reason for men today not to do the same; unless they are not physically able. Acts 18:5. 2 Thess 3:8. And if one is not physically able to work secular, that makes the plea of this article more valid. Some preachers may be in a wheel chair, are suffering from other ailments that make punching a time clock out of the question. These men must not be cast to the side like an old rag, but we must do all in our power to make support to preachers our top priory.
There are probably churches who have a nice sum of money and aren't really doing much with it.
That money needs to be spent and we best quit sitting on it. Whenever a preacher has to leave the work of God and do secular work because apathetic brethren refuse to support him; we create shame. No preacher should ever have to work secular, but it is very possible he may have too. Many men are doing so already, and their work in the secular world doesn't make them any less of a preacher.
God may be displeased with brethren who put preachers in such situations, but He is very pleased with
faithful men who labor in His vineyard and punch the time clock as well.
"I'm Gay and God Loves Me"
by Bill Beasley
So read, I am told, a tee-shirt worn in public by a mature (age wise) man.
As strange as it may seem to some who know me, I am in complete agreement with what is actually said on the shirt. The statement is true, and I can prove it by turning to God's word. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). God's love for the world (i.e., people living in the world) is all encompassing and excludes no one. This beautiful passage does not say, nor even imply, that God loves the righteous and those who obey Him, to the exclusion of others. Well, so much for what the shirt says.
What is not said, but what the wearer wanted people to believe, is "I'm gay and God approves of my lifestyle." What is actually said and what is implied are worlds apart. God's love (Gr., agapao) has naught to do with whether or not He approves of the actions (lifestyle) of the individual. The following statements (patterned after the statement on the shirt) would be just as true (concerning the love of God): "I'm a mass murderer and God loves me." "I'm a pedophile and God loves me." "I'm a rapist and God loves me." I'm a thief and God loves me." "I'm an adulterer/adulteress and God loves me." "I'm a liar and God loves me." "I have sexual relations with a goat and God loves me." God loves each of these (and all of us who have been guilty of other sins) with a love so strong that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for their (our) sins by dying on the cross. God's Son died on Golgotha that you, the shirt wearer, and I might be saved from our sins (from the eternal penalty of our sins), but certainly not in (while embracing and living in) our sins.
The shirt wearer has evidently made the mistake of implying/thinking/believing that God's love equals God's approval and/or that God's love (Gr., agapao) equals salvation. He certainly was not the first to make this mistake (assumption), and will undoubtedly not be the last. "For God so loved the world . . ." but the truth is that the majority of God's creation will not be allowed in heaven, but will be in eternal torment. "Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it"(Matthew 7:13-14). It is the many versus the few. No, I do not know the exact number that constitutes many nor how small the number must be to be but few, but I do understand the point being made. In the flood there were only eight who were saved (see Genesis 6-7, noting especially 7:13). In the destruction of Sodom there were, in the final outcome, only three (see Genesis 19, noting verses 15 and 26) that were not consumed in the flames or turned into a pillar of salt.
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. And thou shalt not lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down thereto: it is confusion" (Leviticus 18:22-23). "And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13).
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due" (Romans 1:26-27). Do I hate the ones who do such things? No! No! A thousand times No!
I do not hate the murderer, rapist, pedophile, thief, liar, adulteress, nor the homosexual. Their actions are the subject of hatred, but not the individual. I would that they would come to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the Bible really means what it says (Mark 16:16), repent of their sins (Acts 17:30), confess their faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32) and be baptized in order to the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Then I, along with thousands of my brothers and sisters in Christ, would welcome them. This is not hatred, this is love!
Why Become A Christian?
By Mike Riley
A querist asks, “Why should I become a Christian? What’s the advantage of being a Christian versus a non-Christian?”
There are many biblical reasons for our becoming a New Testament Christian, but here are three primary reasons that stand out in this writer’s mind:
1) Our Past — The inspired writer Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 “….for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” Since our sins separate us from a holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and since sin’s wages is spiritual death (Romans 6:23), there has to be a means by which our sins are forgiven, thus bringing us back into a proper relationship with God. That “means” is the sacrificial offering of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7; cf. Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 9:11-12) .
2) Our Present — God has only promised us the present – the “now” in which to accomplish His purpose in our lives. James tells us in James 4:13-14:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.“
Through our obedience to the gospel, we can experience joy and peace “now” (cf. Acts 8:39; Acts 16:34; Philippians 4:7). Part of that “joy” has to do with God bestowing us with “exceedingly great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4), one of those being our salvation from sin — not having to face God’s wrath (Titus 2:11-14; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 5:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
3) Our Future — The Bible not only gives us a glimpse of future judgment (Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 17:31), but also emphasizes the fact that there are only two eternal states of existence — either “everlasting punishment” or “eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Our names must be found written in the “Book of Life” (Revelation 20:12), or we will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Yes, the above listed reasons are great reasons for becoming a Christian, being obedient to our Savior’s conditions of salvation. There is absolutely no good reason (or reasons) for remaining outside the saved body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23; cf. Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:47).
The Deity of Christ: Refuting Some False Arguments
by Osamagbe Lesley Egharevba of Lagos, Nigeria
The very idea that Jesus was the first to be created is not only absurd, but it is inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible.
Recently I met some preachers in the Lord’s church who affirm that Jesus Christ was created. By “created” they mean that Jesus Christ at a point before the creation of the world, was not in existence. Then God the Father had to create Him, after which He (the Father), together with Jesus created all other things in the world.
Interestingly, these same preachers admit that Jesus is God. Quite strangely, they made Jesus a “created God” who is qualified to receive worship. Some arguments were advanced in support of their affirmation. It is my desire to address these arguments and see what the Bible says about them. It seems to me that the concept of Jesus being a “created God” would be like the concept of a “married bachelor” – both statements are not only contradictions in thought but they simply do not exist. Let us look at some of the arguments used by them to defend this doctrine.
Jesus Was Begotten
One of the arguments used by these folks is about the usage of the word “begotten” found in Hebrews 1:5. The text reads: “For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”? They argue that the Greek word translated “begotten” as used in this verse means “to bring forth” or “to create” and that since Jesus Christ was begotten by the Father, then it means He was created. By this very argument, they have successfully made angels uncreated beings. Notice that Hebrews 1:5 clearly states that none of the angels were ever said to be begotten. And if “begotten” means “created” as these brethren affirm, then the simple meaning of the text would be that none of the angels were ever created. But we know that angels were created as evident in Psalm 148:5. In an attempt to prove that Jesus was created by running to this passage, these folks have inadvertently made the angels uncreated!
But then, we also find the word “begotten” used in 1 Corinthians 4:15 when Paul told the Corinthians that “though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” Would anyone argue that the Corinthians were created by Paul? Was it that they were not existing, and Paul had to bring them into existence? Paul is simply indicating that the Corinthians are now in a new position. He was the instrument of their conversion to Christ by means of the gospel; by preaching it to them, that is, by the truth. Whatever the word begotten means, it surely does not mean that the Corinthians were not in existence and then Paul brought them into existence. Surely, the word would not also mean in Hebrews 1:5 that there was a time Jesus was not in existence and God had to bring him into existence.
Jesus Had A Father Before He Came to Earth
Another argument from Hebrews 1:5 often used by these preachers is that Jesus had a Father from when He was in heaven. And just like the earthly fathers always exist before their children, God the Father existed before the Son. But whether Jesus was a Son in heaven or not is not an indication that He was created. The truth is: it is erroneous to suggest (or state) that the word “Son” as used for Jesus necessitates any kind of physical begetting since we are “sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). In the United States, George Washington is often called “the father of his country” without any understanding or suggestion that those in the U.S. are his biological sons. So far as I know, he never had any “sons” in that sense. Quite often I have read of a person who is called "the father of medicine," or “the father of sociology” or “the father of” something else, without the idea of that individual having begotten a “son” in the sense that “son” is so often used in the Bible. Jesus was not the “Son” because He had a beginning (e.g., that He was a created being). He was the agent of creation, as the apostle John wrote in John 1, not a part of what was created!
Jesus Was Made
There is another argument that these brethren advance from Hebrews 1:4. The text says in the King James Version: “being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” These brethren say that the word “made” means “to create” or “to assemble.” And because the Bible says Jesus was “made so much better than the angels,” then it means He was created better than the angels. But we find this same word used in Matthew 23:15 when Jesus said “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (KJV). Was Jesus implying that the Scribes and Pharisees created the proselyte? Was the proselyte not in existence before he was made by the scribes and Pharisees? In this verse, Jesus was simply speaking of the conversion of the proselyte. There is a change in his position and in that sense, he was “made.” In the same way, Hebrews 1:4 is not even talking about creation rather, it speaks of Christ’s role in the scheme of redemption and what He had become. If a man was made (or became) the director of a company, that would not mean he was created by the company or that he never existed before he was made such. It is very inappropriate to just stick to one meaning of a word and insist that such meaning would be applied in every instance the word occurs without regard for the context.
Jesus Is the Firstborn of every creature
Speaking of Christ in Colossians 1:15, Paul said “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” And these brethren think that the word firstborn is used in this passage to mean that Christ was the first to be created. But the usage of the word “firstborn” simply indicates that Jesus is supreme over all creatures (not that He is a created being). It refers to the firstborn in position and not in time. For instance, when we refer to Jill Biden as the “first ady” of the United States of America, we do not mean she is the first woman in time. We simply refer to her as the first lady in position. Another good example is found in Jeremiah 31:9 when God called Ephraim His firstborn. However, notice from Genesis 48:14 that Ephraim was the younger son while Manasseh was the firstborn: “And Israel stretched out his right hand ...upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head,...for Manasseh was the firstborn.” Colossians 3:16 clearly tells us the very point of verse 15 – everything was created by Jesus and for Jesus – He is supreme! If Jesus is a created being, then it means that He created Himself, based on verse 16.
Jesus is the Beginning of the Creation of God
The last argument we would consider is found in Revelation 3:14 where Jesus said He is “the Beginning of the creation of God:” These brethren interpret this passage to mean that Jesus is the first to be created. However, the term “beginning,” as employed in Revelation 3:14, does not suggest a commencement in time for Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these brethren claim that “the beginning of the creation” was a time prior to Genesis 1 (before God created the world) and that it was sometime within this period that Jesus was created. But the Bible teaches that the beginning of the creation began with Genesis when God created the heavens and the earth. Notice in Mark 10:6 (“But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female”) and Mark 13:19 (“For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.”) that Jesus referred to the beginning of the creation and this points back to Genesis when God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present in creating all things. Hence, “the beginning of the creation” does not refer to a time before Genesis as these people contend that Jesus was created. Since Jesus was present at “the beginning of the Creation,” it is an assumption to find another beginning of the creation in which it is claimed that Jesus was created.
So, this phrase as used in Revelation 3:14 simply indicates that Jesus is “first in rank,” not first to be created. The Greek word that is rendered “beginning” in Revelation 3:14 is arche. The term is employed in various senses in the Bible. It may refer to the “beginning” of something (e.g., in “the beginning of the gospel” (Mark 1:1) and it can also signify the “first cause,” of a thing, or that by which something “begins to be,” i.e., the originating source. In Revelation 3:14 arche is used of Christ as the uncreated principle, the active cause of creation. The term in this text is not to be understood as the first of created things. Notice that in Revelation 22:13, Christ refers to Himself as the “beginning [arche] and the end [telos].” If “beginning” suggests that there was a time when Christ did not exist, but that He came into existence as the first being of God’s creation, does “end” indicate that there will be a point at which the Savior will go out of existence? The question hardly needs a response. Also, in Isaiah 48:12 the Lord God described Himself as “the first” and “the last.” Did He mean to indicate that there was a time when He did not exist? The very idea that Jesus was the first to be created is not only absurd, but it is inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible.
The Bible Teaches That Jesus Is From Everlasting
The Bible teaches that Jesus is God and that suggests He was not created. He accepted worship on different occasions (Matthew 8:2,9:18,14:33,15:25,28:9,17; Hebrews 1:6). Peter refused to accept worship since it was improper to worship a creature like him (Acts 10:25-26). Romans 1:25 makes it clear it is wrong to worship the creature: “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Creature worship is sinful and if Jesus was created as these brethren affirm, it would be a sin for Him to have been worshipped.
Micah 5:2, in speaking of Jesus teaches that His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” This means He has been from eternity. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2, Genesis 1:26).
By Ajayi Ojeva Osogbo, of Nigeria
The Rapture is a popular doctrine among denominational churches today. It was believed and taught by a few premillenialists in the church. It is connected with theories about the second coming of Christ and his kingdom.
The exponents of this doctrine believe and teach that Christ will come secretly and take his church out of the earth, leaving sinners behind. It is an arm of the premillenialists’ theory about the second coming Christ.
The premillenialists are divided on the question as to when the so-called rapture will occur. Four positions are held among them. They all believe and teach a period of great tribulation on earth. They place the rapture at different periods of the tribulation.
The pre-tribulationists place the rapture before the tribulation. They believe that Christ will return at any moment to secretly rapture the church before the tribulation on earth. After seven years of tribulation, Christ will return with His saints to overcome the Antichrist and his forces and establish God’s millennial, Jewish kingdom on earth.
Mid-tribulationists on the contrary place the rapture in the midst of the tribulation. They claim that Christians will experience the first half of the Tribulation, that is three and a half years of persecution, and then at the midpoint of the tribulation they will be raptured. They base their argument for such a position on Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:4 which include the phrase “time, times and half a time.” This is taken to mean a period of three and a half years of tribulation, before the rapture.
Post-tribulationists on the other hand placed the rapture after the tribulation. They believe the church will experience seven years of tribulation before Christ returns. They believe also that the Jews will believe in Jesus after the church has been raptured.
Pre-Wrath Tribulationists on their own placed the rapture after the tribulation, but before the wrath of the day of the Lord.
No passage of the scripture teach the doctrine of the so-called rapture.
Neither Matthew 24 nor 1 Thessalonians 4 teach such doctrine.
In Mathew chapter 24 verses 40 and 41 we read, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” In the verses, Jesus was not speaking about the so-called rapture. What does taking one and leaving the other mean then? In this life, two persons may be doing things together but be separated in relation to Christ. Thus, they shall be separated in eternity. At the second coming of Christ, men shall be separated in the resurrection and judgment; the righteous will resurrect unto resurrection of life. But the unrighteous unto the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). The meaning here apparently is that at the second coming of Jesus to judge the world, the righteous faithful saints will be taken away to their eternal reward in heaven, the unrighteous and unfaithful will be left for their final abode in hell. The judgment shall see the unrighteous going into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (Matthew 25:46).
1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 15 to 17 reads:
”For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain
unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself
shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught off together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so
shall we ever be with the Lord.”
This passage does not teach a secret rapture in any way. First, the so-called rapture is supposedly followed by a return to the earth. But in this passage, there is nothing that suggests a return of the saints to the earth. This Scripture says. So we shall ever be with the Lord. Here, the saints are taken up to be with the Lord forever. There is only one coming of the Lord and that is for judgment (Matthew 25: 31-46).
The doctrine of so-called rapture is false. There is not going to be any intermediate between the second coming of Christ and eternity. There is no secret coming of the Lord. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, amen” (Revelation 1:7).
March 3rd 2023. Church of Christ
7222 Germantown Ave
Phila PA. 19119
Dear Gov Shapiro.
Greetings to you and congratulations on winning the election. I admired your work as the
A G of Pa and thought you did a fine job. I heard you speak on the death penalty and wanted
to share some thoughts from the word of God concerning the right of Government to punish the unlawful person.
The Old Testament and the New Testament instruct men not to kill or steal. Gen 9.5-6.
Ex 20.13-15. Eph 4.28. Rom 13.9-10. The commandments “thou shalt not steal” and “thou shalt not kill” are well known to evildoers which is the reason they run from police. Rom 13.3
Government was ordained by God, for men to have rule of authority to live under. Rom 13.1-7. 1 Pt 2.13-14. The Bible teaches when Government fails to carry out the authority which God has entrusted to it, evildoers will be encouraged to commit evil acts. 2 Pt 2.10. Eccl 8.11.
No evil doer plans on getting caught, so the threat of being “locked up” does not deter a robber. But that does not mean that we do away with jail sentences for robbery. The government has the right to take a robber and lock him up. Matt 5.25-26. Matt 18.28-30. No evil doer plans on getting caught, so the threat of execution does not deter murderers. But that does not mean that we should do away with the death penalty. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament authorizes authority of Government to punish robbers and murderers. The Government can take freedom from a criminal and the Government can take life from a killer. John 19.8-11. Luke 23.20-22. Luke 23.39-41. Acts 25.10-11. Matt 5.21-22.
Government should not worry whether a man named Sam will be deterred not to steal.
Just enforce the law and let Sam suffer the consequences. If Jack wants to go out and steal,
let him also be jailed and suffer for his deeds. Col 3.25. One thing is certain, if you lock up
Jack and Sam, they are deterred from committing any other robberies during their sentence.
If a murderer named Thomas is executed, he is deterred from committing any other murderers.
If there is another murderer name Charles, execute him and Charles won't be able to commit anymore murders. The government needs to go ahead and execute the authority that God has given it and not worry about whether a person will be deterred. Just enforce the law.
I hope you have a very good term and that you will do much good for Pennsylvania. Thank you.
Minister mt airy church of Christ
By David Sproule
Picture this in your mind. There is a fish who is safely tucked away and minding his own business in the rocks and thick grass of the riverbed. He is doing just fine. Then, something catches his eye. There is something dancing around near the surface of the water. It looks rather intriguing. What could it be? Dare he come out of his spot to check it out? No! He doesn’t want to take a chance. Not now.
So, the fish stays put. But every once in a while, the sparkle of the sun against this dancing object draws his eyes again to the surface. Before he realizes it, he is glancing up at that enticing object more than he is paying attention to life around him, and without realizing it, he begins to inch out of his place of safety and into the open water. His curiosity and cravings get the better of him and he drifts closer and closer to this alluring phenomenon.
He finally sees it clearly and he wants it. It almost seems to have him in a trance with some kind of tractor beam effect. He begins to circle this tantalizing wonder, swimming around it several times to get a better look, consider his options and make up his mind, “Is it worth it?” Finally, he cannot hold himself back any longer and he takes a bite. Next thing he knows, he’s pulled out of his home and into a frying pan.
The illustration above depicts what happens to us in the temptation process. Read James 1:14-15. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
We may think we are tucked away safely, but then something enticing catches our eye. At first, we might ignore it, but the longer it presents itself, the more intrigued we become. Before we know it, we have inched away from where we should be and find ourself in the open water of vulnerability. While we still have time to get back to safety, sometimes the temptation is so strong that we give in to it, rather than flee from it. We take the bite. Sometimes the realization of what we have done hits us immediately; sometimes it hits us later. Regardless, we’re in Satan’s frying pan.
Friend, where are you in the temptation process? Has something sinful caught your eye? Divert and close your eyes! “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes” (Psa. 101:3). Have you been lured from your place of safety? “Turn” back immediately (Jas. 5:20). Are you about read to give in? “Flee,” “resist” “cry out to God” (1 Pet. 2:11; Jas. 4:7; 2 Chron. 7:14). Did you already bite? “Repent and pray to God” that you may “be forgiven” (Acts 8:22). Temptation is strong, but with God’s strength (Eph. 6:10), you are stronger (1 John 4:4).
By Mike Riley
There’s no question in this writer’s mind that our world is a much smaller place because of the advances in technology over the past thirty years. We can now instantaneously contact individuals at one click of a computer mouse via email or one button on a cell phone.
The possibilities of evangelism over the Internet are virtually endless. For example, people around the world with Internet access, had the capability of viewing the 46th Annual Memphis School of Preaching Lectureship via the OABS website. This could not have been possible just a few short years ago.
The Apologetics Press website has both audio and video files that can be accessed by both students and teachers around the world, educating them about God’s truth found in the Bible, counteracting humanist teachings found in the public school libraries of our country, such as evolution and atheism.
The Preacher’s Files website went online in September of 2001, and has since grown into a major resource for Bible teaching on the Internet.
However, there is a downside to technology with regards to effective evangelism. While we can reach more people than ever before with technology and the Internet, the downside of that capability, is that we lose the personal aspect of one-on-one interaction with people.
USA Today human behavior and relationships writer, Sharon Jayson, looks at the possibility of overusing technology to the exclusion of one-on-one interactions with people. Neuroscientist Gary Small, a brain researcher at the University of California-Los Angeles, recently made this comment regarding hand-held computers: “They give us opportunities to enhance our lives, but also to disrupt our conventional lives.”
Mr. Small also makes the following observation:
“Our brains are sensitive to stimuli moment to moment, and if you spend a lot of time with a particular mental experience or stimulus, the neural circuits that control that mental experience will strengthen,” he says. “At the same time, if we neglect certain experiences, the circuits that control those will weaken. If we’re not having conversations or looking people in the eye — human contact skills — they will weaken.“
The Ecclesiastes writer advises us not to go to extremes (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 NIV – see commentary; cf. Proverbs 25:16,27), and such is the case regarding our use of technology in evangelism. The one-on-one method of teaching that Jesus used during His earthly ministry (Matthew 16:13-28; John 3:1-21; John 4:1-26; John 13), is still the most effective form of evangelism that we have today. However, using the technology tools we have at our disposal in a wise manner, can enhance our one-on-one teaching efforts.
I received the following thoughts by an unknown author via email this morning from one of my Christian friends and wanted to share them with my blog readers. These thoughts could very well be my thoughts, as I’m entering the latter years of my life. The thoughts expressed are something to seriously think about this day and every day that God allow us to live (Acts 17:24-25):
You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all.…..
And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams… But, here it is, the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise.…. How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?
I remember well….seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like. But, here it is..…my friends are retired and really getting gray.…they move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me.…but, I see the great change.…Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant.…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be.
Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore.…it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will….I just fall asleep where I sit!
And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did…..
But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last.…this I know, that when it’s over.…its over….Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done….things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime….
So, if you’re not in your winter yet.…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!!
Life goes by very quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life.…so, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember.…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past.
“Life is a gift to you from God. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.
Make it a “fantastic one!“
Live life well — Enjoy today — Do something fun — Be happy — Be thankful…..And Praise God For all He’s given you! (Psalm 150:6; James 1:17; cf. John 3:27).