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4
Oct

Isaiah 5:20

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3
Oct

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Cor. 4:17-18

3
Oct

What is the Essence of Sin?

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ASK THE QUESTION, What is the essence of sin?

At the very heart of sin is self.

Sin is “me” versus “you”  or “you” versus “me” or “we” versus “them,” and so forth.

David had sinned against Bathsheba, her husband, his family, and the nation, but above all others he had sinned against God.

But perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I was under the impression that unbelief was the essence of sin.”

What is unbelief but self versus God?

God speaks, and in unbelief you do not obey.

God ordains, and in unbelief you protest.

God loves, and in unbelief you insist that no one loves you.

Self is more important to the unbeliever than God.

The unbeliever would sooner trust himself than the God who created him.

All sin is against somebody.

Sins are often against more than one but never less than one.

Without any exception, all sin is against God, and in most instances of sin there is at least one person who is sinned against.

Perhaps you wish to dispute this point.

You acknowledge that there are sins which are obviously against others, like David’s sins of adultery and murder.

But you can think of sins which are purely private and personal, sins like secret thoughts of greed, lust, and hostility.

Maybe you argue, “No one is hurt by my private thoughts.

I admit that I have these secret thoughts and perhaps they are sinful, but thy don’t affect anyone else.

Nobody knows about them.”

But I ask, “Are you a wife and a mother?”

“Well, yes, I am both.”

“Don’t try to convince me that those secret sins are against nobody.  They are against your husband and your children.”

You say, “No, no, no, they are not the type where I do something; it is just that I think things that are wrong.”

Oh yes, but in thinking things that are wrong, you rob yourself of being the person that God has called you to be, and therefore you rob your children of a godly mother and your husband of a godly wife.

So you have sinned against your husband and against your children even in your secret imagination.

Are you a husband, a father, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, an uncle, an aunt?

Whatever your relationship with others, it is damaged by your secret sins.

If you will get down on your knees before God and pray this through, you will see that it is nonsense to think of sin as purely personal.  Guest Editorialist:  Richard Owen Roberts, Repentance – The First Word of the Gospel, 128-129

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”–Mike
2
Oct

How Do We Lead?

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“YOU AND I do not naturally submit to anyone or anything.

Insist that I be your slave, and you have a civil-rights case on your hands!

American history illustrates what happens when one human enslaves another.

We resist submission to another person with every fiber of our cholesterol-free lifestyles.

In a culture where the individual has reached godlike status, submitting to anyone or anything outside ourselves is beyond reason.

Self-interest soars high above service in our hierarchy of interests.

These attitudes are part of our cultural thinking.

They are also the very feelings that prevent us from knowing the freedom that comes from giving ourselves to Christ.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mat. 16:24).

Denying–not embracing–self is the first step to becoming a servant leader.

If you desire to lead as Jesus led, you must desire first to follow Jesus; this is how leadership training among God’s people begins.”  C. Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, “How Do We Lead by Serving?”, 23

1
Oct

WHERE is Salvation? #1

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THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT the following question please:

Is there ever a time—in all of the Bible—when God restricted salvation—to just ONE location?

Let’s explore this together with an open mind and open Bible (cf. Acts 17:11).

Please read the following texts and then answer the questions listed below.

READ Genesis chapters 6-7:

  • WHAT did God promise He was going to do to the earth? 6:7, 13, 17

 

  • WHY did God say He was going to do this? 6:5, 11-13

 

  • WHAT did God tell Noah to do? (Be specific).  6:14-22

 

  • WHY was the ark even necessary in the first place? 6:17; 7:7

 

  • WHERE did God command Noah and his family to go? 7:1, 7

 

  • WHAT happened to all human life that was not in the ark? 7:21-23; 2 Pet. 2:5; 3:5-6

 

  • WHAT happened to all human life that was in the ark? 7:23; 1 Pet. 3:20; cf. Eph. 1:3

 

  • WHAT IF someone had watched the aged patriarch (7:6) and his family as they constructed the ark and this individual had asked, “Noah, do you think you and your family are the only ones who are going to be saved on the earth?”, WHAT would/could Noah have said?

 

  • WOULD it have been arrogant for Noah to tell his neighbor that salvation was restricted to just one place (i.e., inside the ark–2 Pet. 2:5)? Would it have been wrong or unloving for Noah to tell his neighbor that “God told me that salvation was found only in the ark?”  (Explain your answer).

 

  • If it was neither arrogant, wrong, nor unloving, for Noah to tell a neighbor that salvation was restricted to just one place (i.e., the ark) back before the Flood, would it be arrogant, wrong, or unloving for a Christian to say that “God tells us through His Word that salvation is found only in one place (i.e., the church) today? 1 Tim. 3:15; Mat. 16:13-18; Acts 2:47; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; Col. 1:18

 

 

27
Sep

Mark 10:45

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JESUS’ ENTIRE MISSION was about service to his Father in heaven, service to his mission, service to his followers, and, ultimately, service to those he came to save.  (C. Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, 110).

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  

 

24
Sep

Who is Her First Love?

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“WHEN I TALK to daughters about their fathers, the conversations are almost always emotionally charged.

They adore their fathers or hate them–sometimes they do both simultaneously.

Your daughter yearns to secure your love, and throughout her life she’ll need you to prove it.

A daughter identifies easily with her mother, but you are a mystery to her.

You are her first love, so the early years of your relationship with her are crucial.

The love you give her is her starting point.

You have other loves in your life, but she doesn’t.

Every man who enters her life will be compared to you; every relationship she has with a man will be filtered through her relationship with you.

If you have a good relationship, she will chose boyfriends who will treat her well.

If she sees you as open and warm, she’ll be confident with other men.

If you are cold and unaffectionate, she’ll find it hard to express love in a healthy way.

When your daughter was born, oxygen was forced into her lungs so she could breathe.

So too must love be pressed into her being if she is to grow into an emotionally sound woman.  Guest Editorialist

Meg Meeker, “You Are Her First Love,” Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, 49-50)

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”  Psalm 103:13 ESV

20
Sep

What Kind of Doorstop?

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IN 1799, CONRAD Reed discovered a seventeen-pound rock while fishing in Little Meadow Creek.

Not knowing what it was made of, his family used it as a doorstop for three years.

In 1802, his father, John Reed, took it to a jeweler who identified it as a lump of gold worth about $3,600.

That lump of gold, which was used as a doorstop for three years in North Carolina, is one of the biggest gold nuggets ever found east of the Rockies.

THOUGHT:  Until its composition was determined, its value was unknown. Even so, until the composition of our faith is determined, its strength is unknown. God allows trials in our lives, not to hurt us, but too strengthen and prove us.

Source:  Ministry 127

“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1 Pet. 1:7

19
Sep

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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“OUR ETERNITY IS more important than anything that can happen in the few short decades we spend in this life.  No matter how much suffering takes place now, it is far more critical to settle where we will be once that suffering ends”

Jim Davis, “Why Doesn’t God Do Something?” Why Me?  A Godly View of Suffering, Leafwood Publishers, p. 101

17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).  

17
Sep

What About the Blank Space?

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AUTHOR SIDNEY GREENBERG once wrote some very interesting words about loss.

He notes that when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris in 1911 and was missing for two years, more people went to stare at the blank space in the museum than had gone to look at the masterpiece in the twelve previous years it had hung there unmolested.

Greenberg says this intriguing bit of information tells us something important about ourselves.

“It points to our all-too human tendency to fail to take adequate note of precious things while we have them.  But let one of them be taken from us and we become painfully aware of the ‘blank space’ in our lives, and our attention is sharply focused on the ‘blank space.’

“The walls of our lives are crowded with Mona Lisas,” he writes, “but we are unmindful of them.  Countless blessings attend us daily and we are so insensitive to them.  The more often and more regularly we receive any blessing, the less likely we are to be aware of it.  What is constantly granted is easily taken for granted.”

Guest editorialist:  Ken Wilson, “Creating Biblical Leaders,” p. 57

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; AND BE THANKFUL (Col. 3:15–emphasis mine, mb).