Be a Motivator

April 29, 2018

Be a Motivator

Motivation is what provides the inertia to move us to do something. It is something we all need. Without it, we wouldn’t do anything.

Parents need to be motivators. If you just give your children what they want, without expecting anything from them, they won’t be motivated. To withhold privileges from them is a negative form of motivation. Positive motivation is much better.

Teachers need to be motivators. They can just teach the classes they are asked to teach and feel they are doing what they are being paid to do. If they don’t motivate the students to learn they have failed in their duty.

Athletic coaches need to be motivators. They can teach the rules of the game and how it is to be played, but they will not succeed if they don’t motivate their players to put forth their best efforts.

Pastors need to be motivators. They can preach their sermons, but if they make no effort to motivate their hearers to put into practice what they have told them, they haven’t finished their job.

The following are some suggestions of ways to be motivators. Fathers, gather your children around the table and say, “Hey children, I want you all to get the best education you can. The next time your reports cards come out, if you all have a B+ average we are going to have a family celebration. I’m going to take the whole family out to eat. If you need help with one or more of your subjects let me or your mother know, and we will do all we can to help you.” Over the weeks it would be good to remind them to keep working hard on their studies. Let them know that you are looking forward to that celebration. You might think of some other things to include in it.

Teachers, let’s suppose that you are teaching a class of English grammar. “Class, we need to have a clear understanding of what constitutes a complete sentence. Sentences are composed of words. What are sentences composed of?” If the majority in the class don’t respond by saying “words” repeat the question. “Every sentence must have a noun. A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing. What is a noun?” If you don’t get a good response to your question repeat again the definition of a noun and ask again, “What is a noun?” You need student participation. Help them find joy and satisfaction in learning.

Athletic coaches need to motivate their players to set goals. Tell them that you are going to start posting a list of “achievers” on the bulletin board. “Here is what you will need to do to make the list:

1. Do 20 pushups

2. Put the ball through the basket six times out of ten

3. Run 10 yards in 6 seconds

“At the beginning of each month I’ll test you again to see if you still qualify. Those who didn’t qualify last month will have a chance to qualify the second month.”

Pastors, you can include illustrations in your sermons of people who have excelled or are excelling in the discipline you have spoken of. You can say, “If they could do it, there is no reason why you can’t.” If you have knowledge of Christians who are setting a good example they can be used as an illustration.

God wants his people to excel. Daniel 11:32 says, “But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Ephesians 4:14-16 tells us of God’s desire to see us grow. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” He wants us to be zealous of good works. Titus 2:14 says, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” From Hebrews 10:24 we learn that we should motivate one another. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Be a motivator

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You Can Be Used of God Where You Are

by Russell George

It gives us great satisfaction to know that we are fruitful; contributing something to the well being of others. We read that Jesus said that we get more blessing from giving than we do from receiving. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

(Acts 20:35)

Therefore our goal should be to be fruitful. In Galatians chapter five we find what might be called two tool kits by which to live. In verses 19-21 we find the tool kit that enables us to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as

I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

These are tools that enable us to grab and get all we want for ourselves. In so doing we hurt a lot of people. In the end we leave people hating us.

In the same chapter, in verses 22-23 we find another tool kit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” These tools enable us to give. They enable us to help people and not hurt them. You won’t make many friends if your major preoccupation is that of satisfying your fleshly lusts. To the contrary, if you are producing the fruit of the Spirit, people will be attracted towards you.

If you are a prisoner, you have been allowed to bring these two tools kits into the prison with you. Which one are you using? Perhaps you are disgruntled and think that what has happened to you isn’t fair. Since you are miserable you find satisfaction in making those around you miserable. They say “Misery loves company.” In your kit you will find a tool that is labeled “strife.” It is an excellent tool for stirring up trouble. There is another tool labeled “seditions.” That enables you to get on the side of the trouble makers. Then you find another tool that is called “hatred.” Perhaps you say, “Ah, that’s what I have for the guards here. I’d sure like to take vengeance on them.” If you do, you might find yourself in solitary confinement.

Now let’s look at another prisoner who is getting acquainted with the tools in the tool kit labeled “fruits of the Spirit.” The first fruit mentioned is love. That is the Greek word “agape.” It means to make a sacrifice to dosomething good for someone. The way in which it should be used is found in verse 13 of this chapter. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Each one of the tools in this tool kit will enable you to be a giving person. They will enable you to endear yourself to those around you but that shouldn’t be your motive in using them.

Don’t try to use these tools in your own strength. They are too heavy for you. You need God’s help. Verse 24 says “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” We need God’s enablement. II Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

When we become a child of God, he begins to do a work in us to enable us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It all begins when you put your faith in Christ so God can forgive your sins and make you a child of his. Have you done that? Romans 5:8-10 explains what God has done for us by means of the work of Christ on the cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

These fruits of the Spirit are just a part of the new nature that God implants in those who are his. In Ephesians 4:22-24 we read that God tells us to put off the old man who is controlled by his deceitful lusts and that we are to put on the new man created in righteousness and true holiness. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

The prisoner who lets God produce these fruits of the Spirit in him will be transformed. He will no doubt be considered for parole much sooner than the man using the tool kit that enables him to satisfy his fleshly lusts. On the day when he is released he will no doubt be surrounded by a group of his cell mates to wish him well. Some will have tears of gratitude in their eyes for the blessing he has been to them.

Some of this article has been directed to prisoners, but it can be applied in any situation. The title is You Can be Used of God Where You Are. Perhaps where you are is the work place or in, your school, or an apartment complex. You just need to reach out to people around you and manifest the fruits of the Spirit you are producing. People will be attracted to you and you can lead them to Christ because they have seen something in you that they want for themselves.

God expects that we bear fruit. John 15:16 says “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” If we aren’t bearing fruit we aren’t fulfilling God’s purpose for us. God gives his people gifts, or talents, so that they will have something to contribute to the ministry of the church. Some of those talents are found in Romans 12:5-8. The fruit of the Spirit makes us even more gifted and capable of giving. We can’t afford to be without them.

God wants us to be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” We cannot be filled with the Spirit without being yielded to him so he can do his work in our lives. He it is that enables us to produce these fruits.

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Christian Care Givers

July 18, 2017

Christian Care Givers

Some care givers get paid for what they do because they work at centers that care for the elderly. Most, however, are forced to accept the responsibility because a loved one needs special care.

This article is addressed to Christian care givers because they may need encouragement and a good understanding of the resources that God has at their disposal so they can take advantage of them. If this article falls into the hands of a care giver and you aren’t part of God’s family, you could find care giving much easier if you had God on your side.

Many times Christians are forced to assume the role of being a care giver because their mate in life has fallen victim of a lingering illness or dementia. Sometimes it is because parents are given a special needs child. Sometimes Christian couples accept the responsibility of caring for their aged parents. If being a care giver falls into your hands please, don’t be bitter about it. Proverbs 17:17 has the spirit with which you should accept it. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Great will be your reward in heaven if you accept it in the right spirit.

Most of us know people who’s lot it is be be care givers. It has fallen into their hands. Some are Christians; some aren’t. We should feel a burden to pray for them. They need it. I Thessalonians 1:2-3 tells us to remember such people. “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”

The above verse makes mention of a number of things that Christian care givers desperately need. It is called a “labor of love.” I Corinthians chapter 13 tells us what love does. It has been said “Where there is love there is no sacrifice.” I Corinthians 13:7 says that love “beareth all things.” It would be extremely difficult to care for someone we didn’t love.

Patience is also mentioned in I Thessalonians 1:3. Being a care giver can try your patience. Care givers are often called out of bed at night. Often they must drop what they are doing and answer the call of the one they are caring for. Many times they may have to miss out on special occasions to stay at the side of the one they love. The burden of being a care giver is greatly alleviated if the one cared for shows appreciation. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes it isn’t their fault.

Christian care givers assume the role of doing for others what they can no longer do for themselves. For a man it may be washing dishes or washing soiled sheets. For a woman it may be putting on her husband’s shoes, feeding him and helping him in and out of the bathtub. Many times it involves doing something you would rather not do, but you do it anyhow as a labor of love.

If it is your mate you are caring for, you may also need to be his or her spiritual counselor. A lingering illness can drain ones strength, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. It may be difficult for those being cared for to keep on trusting in God the way they should. It may be that they can’t get out to church and other activities. They miss fellowship with other believers. You are their comforter and counselor.

The ones you care for don’t always accept and appreciate the care you give them. There may be disagreements. At times you need to be the authority figure. That may be difficult for women who are accustomed to obeying their husbands as the Scriptures say they should in Ephesians 5:22. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” In some cases wives must realize that because of all their husband has been through, or because of dementia, he is no longer the man he once was.

No doubt parents of special needs children need special wisdom in caring for them. It often seems that even normal children are slow learners, but it’s even more so with special needs children. They still need discipline with love. They need more attention. If God gives you a special needs child you have a right to ask of him a special measure of grace and love you will need to care for that one.

Christian care givers need a special measure of grace and wisdom. What they are doing isn’t easy and they can grow weary in well doing. Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” They need our prayers. At times they need a word of encouragement and the assurance of our support. Perhaps this article would be an encouragement to some Christian care givers that you know. If you think so, send them a copy of it.

If you are a Christian care giver and think there are things that could be added to this article I would be happy for your suggestions. You can send them to me at rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Be Not Weary In Well Doing

Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We all grow weary at times. With all of us there is a limit to our physical strength. If we consistently go beyond our limit we can damage our body. To get physically exhausted in well doing obviously isn’t what God has in mind in this verse. He doesn’t expect us to go beyond the limits of our physical strength in well doing. What does he mean then?

More often than not we grow weary in well doing due to a heart problem. It isn’t a physical problem. They say “Where there is a will there is a way.” We lack will power. We aren’t highly motivated when it comes to well doing. There are things we would rather do.

Some feel they are justified in growing weary in well doing because no one shows appreciation for what they are doing. That is discouraging, but keep in mind that it is God who promises the reward. He never forgets what we do. If we don’t get appreciation for the good we do, perhaps we should learn from it, and show appreciation to those who are occupied in well doing.

Some people, by nature, are humanitarian at heart. They have a tender heart. When they see people suffering they want to do something to relieve their suffering. God wants all his people to be that way. When we surrender our will to God he begins to change our will. Romans 12:1 tells us that we need to present our bodies to God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” If he has our bodies, he will have our will.

By well doing we serve others, and in turn they serve us. Galatians 6:2 says we are to bear one another’s burdens. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When God saves us he equips us to be occupied in well doing. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read that we are saved by God’s grace. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Then it says that he equips us to serve him.

In John 14:15 Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments. What are his commandments? In Mark 12:29-31 he gave us two commandments, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

In I Corinthians 12 we read that God has placed his people in what is called the body of Christ. Verse 27 says “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Technically all believers are included in the body of Christ. In our earthly experience it manifests itself in the local church. It is God’s plan that all of his children be members of a local church. There we have an opportunity to exercise the spiritual gifts or talents that we read about also in I Corinthians chapter twelve.

Some might ask, “What is meant by well doing?” First of all, it seems obvious that the opposite would be evil doing. There is no limit to what can and should be included in well doing. God wants to use us in well doing. In Mark 10:21 Jesus said “Take up thy cross and follow me.” Sometimes he gives us a heavy cross to bear. If we love him, as we should, we will be willing to do what he asks of us. I have known several people whose cross was that of caring for a sick marriage partner. When old age approaches some are stricken with dementia and other ailments.

The promise is that we shall reap if we faint not. God may reward us by sending someone to make sacrifices for us when we desperately need it. On the other hand, we may not get our reward until we get to heaven. In either case, we will get our reward if we don’t faint.

Obviously the word faint used here doesn’t mean to faint physically. It means to relax or let down on doing our duty. It is debatable about what will happen if we faint. One commentary, (Matthew Henry) gives the impression that if we faint we will lose all the rewards we have gained. I would rather believe that our rewards are laid up secure in heaven.

Don’t grow weary in well doing. God still has work for you to do. There is much to gain by serving God and others. When you get to heaven you will be very glad you didn’t grow weary in well doing. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

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Fear

March 18, 2017

Fear

Occasionally we hear someone say, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” If we take time to analyze That statement we come to the conclusion that it is a no brainer. We don’t fear fear. We fear what may happen to us. From a biblical point of view, we can put fear in one of three categories.

There is the fear of the Lord. It is a good kind of fear. It doesn’t mean to be afraid of God. It speaks of a reverence for God because of his power and majesty. It may be that we have a fear of displeasing God because he has a right to punish us. He does chasten us, but only because he loves us. Hebrews 12:5-6 says “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” If we love God it will be our desire to please him. If we feel that we have done something displeasing to God we can make it right by doing what I John 1:9 says. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It is to our benefit to fear the Lord. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Knowledge is a good thing. With the fear of the Lord we will acquire genuine knowledge. Fools get what they think is knowledge, but it is often nothing more than foolishness. Psalm 111:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Wisdom is the ability to make wise decisions based on the knowledge we have. Proverbs 19:23 tells us that the fear of the Lord gives us satisfaction. “The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 14:26-27 tells us that the fear of the Lord helps us guard our steps lest we depart into evil paths. “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”

We can put fear in a second category and say that fear keeps us vigilant and conscientious. Without it we are in danger of being reckless and foolish. If we are driving on the highway and we get sleepy, it is this fear that prompts us to drink coffee or stop along the road and take a short nap. We could almost say that this fear is part of human nature. It isn’t a fear that we should fear. We should be glad for it.

There is a third kind of fear that is detrimental to us. II Timothy 1:7 calls it “the spirit of fear.” “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This fear is the cause of stress. There are situations in life that scare us. We fear if we are in danger or threatened with a gun. Some have fears because they live in an unstable marriage or family relationship. We could say that these are legitimate fears, especially if it is momentary. If we find ourselves living with fear we need to look for the solution that God has for it. Isaiah 41:10 says “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” We need to talk to God about our fear. God hasn’t given us this fear. If we put our trust in the Lord we trust him to take care of us in that which we fear. Psalm 56:11 says “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” With God’s help we can refuse to give in to fear. Matthew 10:29-31 gives us reason to put our confidence in the Lord. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

Psalm 37 has been called “the fret not Psalm.” The word “fret” has a meaning similar to that of fear. It means to be troubled. Verses 1-5 give us a number of reasons for trusting in the Lord rather than to fear. If you are troubled by fear you will find consolation by reading and meditating on those verses.

Trust in the Lord doesn’t mean that we will have no trials in this life. He can keep us from trials that threaten us if it is his will. He may, however, send us through fiery trials. If he does, we can claim the promises he gives us. II Corinthians 9:8 says “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” In Philippians 4:13 we read “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” God can give us a special measure of grace when it is needed. It is by that grace that martyrs choose death rather than deny the Lord. Trust in the Lord and you won’t be overcome by the spirit of fear.

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Balance Between Heart And Mind

February 22, 2017

Balance Between Heart And Mind

The thoughts in this article are taken from the truths found in Proverbs 3:1-10. You will benefit much from reading these verses before you read this article.

Having too much of one thing in life and not enough of another can throw us off balance. Bible knowledge enables us to have the proper balance between our heart and our mind. If our life is out of balance we go from one extreme to another. We put emphasis on one thing and neglect something else that is also important. We need Bible knowledge, but if that is all we have we won’t have the knowledge it takes to make a living.

A careful study of Proverbs 3:1-6 will show us the need of giving the proper attention to both our heart and our mind. Verses 7-10 of this chapter tell us how it will benefit us if we maintain a balance between the two. The author begins by saying “forget not.” We can’t forget something unless we have learned it. To learn something demands that we use our mind. Here he is talking about remembering the law. We need to have knowledge of what God expects of us. God’s law teaches us what is right and wrong. If we love the Lord the way we should, then we will realize the need of knowing what God’s law says. At the same time, our heart will embrace God’s law. It is to our advantage to know what is right and wrong. If not, we will make foolish mistakes that hurt us and others. Verse two lists some of the benefits of taking heed to God’s law.

The lack of balance doesn’t always mean that we never exercise our mind and learn. Frequently we hear of men who are college graduates. They profess to be Christians, but they don’t have a balance between heart and mind. They may have a good job, but their heart is set on making money and having material possessions. To all the world, it may look like they are successful, but their home is a disaster because they haven’t given consideration to God’s law. If They aren’t already divorced, they are approaching it. They have never learned how to relate to people and love them. Those are skills we learn by having Bible knowledge. These people are lacking what is mentioned in Romans 1:31. “Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Their career has been their priority. They have money, but they don’t have peace. They neglect to give attention to a part of life that is extremely important. They follow their hearts desire, but neglect to learn how to live. We need to learn from Ezra 7:10 that we need to prepare our hearts. “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

This imbalance between heart and mind often manifests itself in the attitude of children and young people. They say, “I don’t like to study.” I can understand why they say that. It is an effort to study. It takes self discipline. There are more entertaining things to do in life. It may be boring. They need to take seriously what Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” To neglect your education is to go the way of the fool. At times, with young people, I have used the illustration of the man who is jealous of a man he knew as a child. They lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same school. He is jealous because the other man has made a success in life. He has a good job and a happy home. He says, “It isn’t fair that he should have so much and I have so little.” He should stop to realize that the difference is that his friend worked hard to complete his homework and got good grades in school while he spent his time playing ball and electronic games.

The one who puts undue emphasis on his heart spends his time in that which is more entertaining. He doesn’t stop to ponder on what we read in Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Matthew 15:19-20 says “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

These are the things which defile a man.” Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We need to keep our hearts in line. That is where the mind comes in. Bible knowledge helps us do that. We need to teach our hearts to love the Lord. If we love the Lord we will love his word which is the truth.

Verse three of our text says “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee.” That takes an effort on the part of both the mind and the heart. It is with the mind that we know what is the truth. With the heart we have mercy. Matthew 22:37 tells us that we are to love the Lord with both our hearts and our minds. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” We need to love the Lord with our heart and use our mind to know what we need to do to please him.

Christian young people need balance between their heart and mind. If not, they can easily fall in love with someone who will not be a good mate for them. They say “love is blind.” It is, unless we have an active mind that gives us discernment. Many times young people reject the way of the Lord because their heart embraces the things they would have to give up to follow the Lord. They have neglected their mind to the point that they can’t see that God’s way is best for them.

Lack of balance between mind and heart causes many to reject God’s plan of salvation. They know that to be a Christian would put some limits on their liberty. They reject a glorious future in exchange for the liberty to walk in the broad way that leads to destruction.

Just as we need to keep our hearts, we also need to keep our minds. Don’t let your mind dwell on impure thoughts. If you do, it will break down your resistance and eventually result in impure deeds. Philippians 4:8 suggests some things on which we should think. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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Let’s Make America Great Again

It is in vain to think of making America great again without giving serious consideration to what made America great the first time. It is our duty to vote with discernment, but even the best politicians are powerless to make America great again. The power to make America great doesn’t start at the top. It demands a grass roots change in the thinking and attitudes of the American people.

America was great because a majority of the American people were good, hard working, law abiding citizens. The American people were good because they were godly. America will never be great again without the help of God.

America was great because a majority of the people loved, respected, and obeyed God. The churches were full, not just on Sunday mornings, but again Sunday evening and in a mid-week service. New church buildings were under construction all over the country. In the churches, children and young people were persuaded that they needed to repent of their sins, ask God to forgive them, and make them his children. Then they and their parents were constantly reminded in church of their duty to respect and obey God’s moral laws. They lived a consistent Christian life and sacrificed to help the poor and needy. If some were poor because they were lazy, they were made to understand that they shouldn’t expect to be the recipients of charity until they had done all in their power to provide for themselves.

Even when America was great there were still some atheists and agnostics, but they were in the minority. There was still crime, but nothing like we see it now. Proverbs 14:34 says “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Common people need to adopt a righteous life style before we can ever hope to make America great again. Righteousness increases when people are taught to live right. America was great when children began their school day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. The words “under God” weren’t left out of the pledge. Then they sang patriotic sons like “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” Bible reading was freely permitted.

We can’t expect young people to live right if they are constantly exposed to sinful life styles. The righteous need to be exonerated and the wicked denounced. Christian parents need to take control of their homes and teach their children to love and respect them. A Christian home needs to be a place where children find entertainment without being exposed to sinful thoughts. Children had fun before we had television and electronic games.

If you are one of those who long to see America great again, then no doubt you are asking yourself, “What can I do to make it happen?” First of all, ask yourself if perhaps you are part of the problem. If you aren’t a child of God and surrendered to him then, yes, you are part of the problem. Making America great again will only be done by a noble army of godly people who fight the enemy, not with weapons, but with the message of salvation and godly living. The path to victory is found in the equation “A godly people = a great nation.” America will never be great again if we leave God out of the equation.

You can join this noble army by coming to God as a guilty sinner and by asking for his forgiveness. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God says he will forgive your sins. In John 1:12 it says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Then, in gratitude to him, you will want to surrender your will to his will and do that which is pleasing to him. If you aren’t sure you have done that, why not do it now?

There are many who are the children of God but they aren’t surrendered to him. They aren’t doing their part to make America great again. God wants his children to live in obedience to him. Ephesians 6:6-7 says, “Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”

If we yield ourselves to God he will make us shine as his servants because he will allow us to produce the fruits of the Spirit that are listed for us in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

God wants us to be his witnesses. Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We do our part in making America great again by our example and by our witness. We need to be bold in sharing this message with those around us. Let others know that they can have life at its best by being yielded to God and sharing the message with others. If we all do our part we will have the joy of seeing America restored to greatness.

There is much that needs to be fixed in America, but our beloved country will never be what it once was until a great multitude of people are in the right relationship with God. We need to fix what’s broken. What most needs to be fixed is the broken relationship many have with God. Make sure your relationship with God is what it should be, and then help others fix their relationship with God. By doing that, we can all have a part in making America great again.

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Ashamed

August 16, 2016

Shame

All of us know what it is to feel ashamed. It is never a pleasant experience. It is something we seek to avoid. Our parents tried to teach us what we should be ashamed of by saying, “You should be ashamed of yourself for doing that.”

More than 100 times the Bible makes reference to shame. There are 12 or more Hebrew words that are translated shame. Sometimes the word confound or reproach is used for shame. There are 6 Greek words for shame. The word ashamed is, of course, just another form of the word shame. In general, the word means the emotional distress that accompanies guilt.

The first time the word ashamed is found in the Bible is in Genesis 2:25. “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Adam and Eve were still in innocence and had no reason for being ashamed. In Romans 1:16 the Apostle Paul said he was not ashamed. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” In II Timothy 1:11-12 he made mention of another situation he was in in which he could have been ashamed, but he wasn’t. “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Sometimes we are put to shame by the wicked deeds of others. II Samuel chapter ten tells about a time when king David sent some men to console a man by the name of Hanun because his father had died. The men he sent were taken as spies. They shaved off their beards and cut off their garments, leaving their buttocks exposed. Verse five says the men were greatly ashamed.

Being ashamed is not a pleasant experience, but sometimes it is to our benefit. It is like the pain we suffer when we hit our finger with a hammer or touch something hot. It teaches us that there are things we shouldn’t do. It is a deterrent to sin and wickedness in the world.

Sometimes we are ashamed when we shouldn’t be, but more often we are not ashamed when we should be. Jeremiah 6:15 tells about people who suffer the judgment of God because they are not ashamed. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.” I Timothy 4:2 tells how that can happen to us. “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” If we go on sinning against our conscience it will no longer speak to us. We will no longer be ashamed when we should be.

Fortunately there is a solution for that ugly feeling of shame and guilt. For the Christian, the solution is found in I John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” After confessing we need to stop doing what we were ashamed of. It is doubtful if repentance is genuine if there is no desire to depart from sin. The shame we suffer because of negligence, or what is called “sins of omission,” is found in II Timothy 2:15. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

As much as possible, we should live free from shame. We will never be 100% free of shame in this life because we are imperfect beings. In Romans 7:19-20 the Apostle Paul expressed what we all struggle with. He said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” The consolation he found is expressed in verse 25. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

In a message that God directed Isaiah to give to Israel he enumerated the benefits of being fearless. It is found in Isaiah 54:4. “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.” It is interesting that 5 of the Hebrew words that are often translated ashamed are found in this verse. The words shame and ashamed appear three times, but they are three distinct Hebrew words. The words confounded and reproach are also often translated shame of ashamed.

The fear of reproach often brings shame. Young people often struggle with this in what is called peer pressure. To please the crowd, they may give into sin that they are later ashamed of.

Let shame do its perfect work in your life. When facing temptation you need to ask yourself, “If I yield, will I later be ashamed of it?” Don’t give others reason to be ashamed of you. Most of all, don’t give God reason to be ashamed of you. II Corinthians 5:10 says that the day will come when we will be judged by him. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

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A Code of Conduct

August 3, 2016

A Code of Conduct

There is universal agreement about the need of a code of conduct. The problem is that not everyone agrees about what should be included in that code. A peaceful society wouldn’t exist without some basic moral standards. Even criminals have some standards that they expect other criminals to abide by. The golden rule that Jesus gave us in Matthew 7:12 demands that we have a code of conduct.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” It is saying that you expect others to treat you by the same code of conduct that controls you in your treatment of them.

Businesses and governmental agencies often have a code of conduct that they expect their employees to abide by. This helps businesses to maintain a good relationship between their employees and their clientele. Sometimes they say “The customer is always right.” These codes of conduct facilitate good relationships between the employees. They often have a dress code that tells employees how they are expected to dress. It is to the advantage of both the employer and the employees.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that God gives us a code of conduct. If we know and love God, it should be our desire to please him. In God’s code of conduct for us are found many of the same moral standards that are found in society in general. Some, for example, are found in the ten commandments. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). God’s code of conduct asks of us much more than is normally included in the world’s standards. For example we read in Luke 6:29, “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” Also Romans 12:20 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

God’s code of conduct doesn’t demand of us more than we are capable of completing. If you are a child of God, you can show it by the way you live, or by how well you abide by his code of conduct. In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

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Don’t be Given to Hatred

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).

Hatred is something that does a slow burn in the heart. Occasionally even genuine Christians are guilty of it. It produces serious problems, not only for those who are hated, but also for the hater. The heart and soul of the hater is poisoned.

With increasing frequency in our day we are seeing or hearing of the aftermath of hatred. If hatred is allowed to take root and flourish in the human heart it is capable of resulting in some ugly, gruesome acts. People go out and kill people in cold blood. If they aren’t shot by the police they take their own life rather than face the shameful consequences of what they have done. Others blow themselves up with explosives and kill other innocent people in the act. Acts of terrorism are committed by people under the control of hatred.

The opposite of hatred is love. The Bible leaves us without any doubt as to which of the two should have preeminence. Strong’s Concordance of the Bible lists 186 verses where a form of the word hate is used. In contrast, there are 556 verses where a form of the word love is used. Again and again the Bible tells us to love . It never tells us to hate anyone. It even says, in Matthew 5:44, that we are to love our enemies. The Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 3:8 that there is “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” If we reference all the verses where the word hate is used in the Bible, we won’t find any that tell us to hate people. It tells us to hate evil. Numerous verses, however, tell us to love people.

Perhaps someone asks “How about a soldier who goes to war? Doesn’t he have to hate his enemy?” Perhaps, to a certain extent, he does. War is an ugly thing. Soldiers in combat are not in a real life situation. They go out with the intent of wiping out a wicked ideology and the only alternative is to take the lives of whose who have embraced that ideology. Sometimes it come to the point where war is the only way to restore peace to a nation or society.

Hatred, by its very nature, produces stress which isn’t good for our health. It depletes the bodie’s capacity to function as it should and leaves it vulnerable to weakness and diseases. It is detrimental to us.

Those who are given to hatred are a menace to society. They destroy peaceful relationships.

Our text verse says they stir up strife. They produce ill-will, turmoil, and suspicion in people groups. A prudent employer doesn’t hire someone if he knows that he or she is given to hatred. If he hires them without knowing that they are haters, he would probably fire them. Again, the hater is the loser.

A person given to hatred is often angry. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.” Proverbs 29:22 also says, “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Hatred doesn’t solve problems. To the contrary, it further aggravates problems. Giving in to hate groups is never a way to promote peace and harmony in society. Problems are solved when people sit down peacefully and look for solutions to their problems.

The farther people get from God the less they show the nature of God. I John 4:8 says. “God is love.” A return to walking with God will be a return to loving people.

Dear reader, you can’t afford to be a hater. The stakes are too high. You are sure to be a loser. It isn’t God’s way. If you are a child of God, he stands ready to forgive you and give you victory over hatred. If you aren’t a child of God, he will accept you as one of his if you will ask him to forgive you of all the sins you have committed against him and make you a child of his. (See also my article “Right Thinking About Hatred” under “Various Themes.”)

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