Thursday, October 14, 2021

Good Speech

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon shared his wisdom by saying “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Good speech might be defined as the expression of thought in well chosen words. We should know and understand that people are judged by the words they speak and by what they do. These are the two things we have by which to know the mind or heart of others. Jesus said, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

The importance of good speech was emphasized by the apostle Paul. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Solomon also let us know the importance of choosing our words carefully; “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20).

The act of choosing our words wisely is important based on what Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” All of us need to make sure that we are very careful with the words that we speak. The fact is – God hears us and we will give an account of our words at the great judgment day. Remember, anyone can use profanity and act foolishly, but the wise individual will think before speaking, making sure that their speech imparts grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

God's Gift to Us -- Our Gift to God

The story is told of a clever woman named Martha Berry who started the Berry School in Rome, Georgia, by scraping together funds from every source she possibly could. One day she asked Henry Ford for a contribution. Patronizingly, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dime. Rather than be insulted or discouraged by the “gift,” Miss Berry bought a package of seed peanuts with it. The seeds were planted and tended, and they yielded a large crop of peanuts which Miss Berry sold. Again she called on Mr. Ford. “Here’s the dime you gave me last year,” she said handing him the coin. Then she told him of the return she had realized from his meager investment. Ford was so impressed that in the years that followed, he gave millions of dollars to the school.

Now, who was clever? The woman who took a meager dime and spent it wisely for the school, or the man who recognized her potential and invested a great amount in a worthy cause?

A. R. Bernard once said "Life is God’s gift to us; what we do with it is our gift to God."

The apostle Paul wrote the following: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:24-31).

What are we doing with the life that God has given us? Have we stopped living for ourselves and started to live for Him — demonstrating true repentance?

We all must realize that we will be judged by how we have lived our lives on this earth. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” 2 Corinthians 5:10).

There is a Gospel Hymn that many of us have sung over the years entitled “All To Jesus I Surrender.” Have we really surrendered all to Jesus? It is important that we consider the value of our soul and turn our life over to God now before it is everlastingly too late. God knows our potential. Therefore, we must use it for Him!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Be Transformed Into the Image of God

The apostle Paul wrote these words in Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This instruction given to the saints at Rome is greatly needed by all Christians today. We live in a world which subjects us to various pressures, calling upon us to “conform.”

Just because “every one else” dresses immodestly, uses vulgar language, is involved in the mad pursuit of material things, is intent on the things of this life that are pleasurable, etc., etc., Christians are under heavy temptation to do likewise. The word “transformed” is the Greek word “metamorphose” which means “to change into another form, transfigure, transform.” The metamorphoses is often illustrated in high school biology by the changing of a worm into a butterfly. Transformed is used of Christ to describe His transfiguration (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2). As Christ was transformed into a divine radiance, Christians are to be transformed into the image of Christ. God’s word says, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:8-11).

No matter how popular and widespread sin and ungodliness may be, it doesn't excuse it or make it more acceptable. “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2). The apostle Paul writes, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13),

Christians must deny ungodliness and worldly lust and strive to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. We must do this regardless of what those around us do. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). The life of the Christian is to be different - a pure, clean, wholesome kind of difference that others may see. It's terrible when our conduct can't be distinguished from that of the worldly people around us – we should know better!

In conclusion, we must be very careful to conduct ourselves correctly in all our relationships in life. We should always strive to keep our lives clean and pure. The bottom line is that every Christian should strive to NOT be conformed to this world, but be transformed into the image of God. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sincerity and Salvation

Apparently many sincere people are trusting in their sincerity for salvation. But is sincerity enough? Jesus said, “....I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Now what could this possibly mean if sincerity alone is sufficient? If there is no other way to salvation than through Christ, as He clearly stated here, then sincerity alone will not do, will it?

One of the classical examples of a man who was unquestionably sincere, and yet lost, out of Christ, and even an arch enemy of the early church, is that of Saul of Tarsus. Saul had even participated in the murder of the first Christian martyr, Stephen (Acts 7:58). He “....made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). It is even reported further that “Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2). So here is a man who is religious about persecuting the way of Christ, believing Jesus to be an imposter. Yet, though misguided, he said, “....I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). He had been sincere, but that sincerity wasn't enough, because you see, sin is not just a matter of violating your conscience; it is a matter of violating the will of God. John was speaking of this in 1 John, Chapter 3, verse 4, when he said, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

In the course of time a Christian named Ananias informed Saul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord’” (Acts 22:16). Yet Saul’s story ends happily because when he learned the error of his way, he was sincere enough to turn from his sins to Christ and he went on to become the great Apostle Paul.

In Acts Chapter 2, we read that there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven (verse 5). Yet, as Peter preached to these sincere people, he accused them with these words: “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:23). Although they were devout, they had participated in the crucifixion of the Lord. On learning of their sin, they were (as the Bible says) "....cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). They now realized that they were guilty before the Lord God. And as they were searching for a cleansing from this guilt, Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

The role of sincerity is to enable a person to be fair and honest with the truth! Sincerity alone does not determine truth, scientifically, and medically, legally, or religiously. We can see then, what Jesus was saying when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

My Father's Businss

Jesus, as a child of twelve years, was rebuked by Mary for remaining in Jerusalem after His family and acquaintances had left. He replied, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” (Luke 2:49). Our Father’s business should take priority over everything else in this world. 

Jesus knew and understood the importance of obeying God. Our Father’s business should be attended with wisdom and care. If some of those who call themselves Christians operated their own affairs in the sloppy way that they attend to the Lord’s work, they would soon go bankrupt. The children of this world are storing up material goods to be used tomorrow, whereas the child of God should be storing up treasures in heaven.

Our Father’s business calls for devotion, dedication, and duty. All work is done on a voluntary basis. In secular work, some do only what the boss absolutely requires. In our Father’s work, we need to do all that we can. Jesus said, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” (Luke 17:10).

Our Father’s business demands a positive, loving attitude. A critical, judgmental, harsh, negative tone is not characteristic of God’s children.

Let us make sure that we are going about our Father’s business with an attitude that He is pleased with.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

God's Word

Have you ever had something you valued very highly and were afraid that you might lose it? Most of us take great care in protecting what we highly treasure, and try to learn the best way to protect it. Sometimes our efforts to preserve and keep our treasures are useless due to ignorance or neglect of the correct measures to be taken. Therefore, that which provided great benefit and was of much value is lost and can't be recovered no matter how hard we try.

Atheists, secular humanists, and others who don’t want to hear anything about God or His standard for living, enjoy all the benefits that come from a society that mostly practices the teachings of the Bible. These people are willfully ignorant of the knowledge that the Bible and its teachings restrain evil and bring order to society. They’re ignorant that the Bible sets forth the individual as being very valuable. This country was based upon this very idea, and its laws were constituted to protect the individual.

If, as the Atheists and others in ignorance desire, Bible teaching is removed from the great majority of our society, that removal will eventually destroy the value of the individual. When the value of the individual is destroyed, our orderly society and freedoms will be gone. Anarchy, violence and lawlessness will replace order and freedom, and a dictatorship or other type of oppressive government will take over.

Do you value God's word? Do you want your children, and grandchildren to grow up with the freedom to practice what the Bible teaches? If you do, store up the word of God in your heart, and teach your children God’s word, morning, noon and night (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It all begins with each one of us. Before our homes can function properly, we must first function properly in the ways and teachings of God. When we are practicing godliness and are truly loyal to Christ, then our homes will reflect that. When our homes reflect Christ, then our local congregations will also reflect Him. It all starts with “ME.”

God’s people long ago were instructed to put Him first above others and all things (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). In the New Testament, Jesus said “And you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). If we will truly value God’s precious word in all aspects of our lives, we will never regret it. Let us all strive to keep God's Word sacred in our heart so that our children and grandchildren will learn of God and value His word!

For Your Information

The following things may be something that you are interested in:

Walking in the Light -- Weekly Bulletin

I have been editing and publishing a bulletin entitled "Walking in the Light" since 2001. The bulletin articles are emailed to more than 800 people each week. If you want to be included on the bulletin mailing list please go to the Poudre Valley church of Christ web site at www.poudrevalleychurchofchrist.org and complete the "contact us" box. In the message section just put "please send me the weekly bulletin." I will receive your information within a few minutes after you submit it and will add your name and email address to my electronic mailing list. You should receive the bulletin in your email box every Saturday.

Churches Looking for Preachers

Non-institutional churches of Christ are welcome to post an ad on my web site if you are looking for a preacher. To post an ad for "Churches Looking for Preachers" and also "Preachers Looking for Churches" please go to the two new pages of the web site designed especially for this purpose. Churches who are looking for preachers can now go to www.thetfordcountry.com and click on the "Churches Looking for Preachers" link and fill out the easy form to submit your information. The listing will be updated on the web site within 24 hours (usually the same day). This information will be kept current so that churches and preachers can have confidence that these listings are accurate and up to date. I would appreciate it if you would let any churches who are looking for a preacher know that this site is available for them to place their posting. Thank you.