Out Of Order

October 3, 2016

Out of Order

If someone in the audience of a court room stands up, while a trial by jury is in process, and begins to give his reason why he thinks the defendant should be convicted, The judge will say, “Sir, you are out of order.” If he doesn’t respect the judge he will be escorted out by a policeman. Many times we get out of order, but there may not be anyone present to tell us we are out of order.

Taking heed to the moral and ethical teachings of the Bible helps to keep us in order. We must never forget that we are in this world with others. Romans 14:7 says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Almost none of us live on an island all by ourselves. Few of us would want to live that way. What we do effects others, and likewise what others do effects us. We need what others have to contribute to us. Life has meaning when we have the feeling that we have something to contribute to the lives of others. We are out of order if we live as though the well-being of others isn’t important to us.

Another important lesson in right living is found in Matthew 7:12. “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.” This is often called “the golden rule.” If we keep this rule in mind it will give us a tremendous amount of discernment regarding what we should or shouldn’t do. If I’m contemplating doing something, it may be greatly to my advantage to do it. However, we need to ask ourselves, “If I do that, how will it effect others?” It is obvious that others suffer loss if I rob from them.

Many in our day are finding that they can add to their wealth and creature comforts by taking advantage of charity. They can do that by appealing to charitable organizations. It is also possible by applying for entitlements. In either case, it is taking advantage of hard working people. You are out of order if you expect others to do for you what you could and should do for yourself. We should leave charity to those who find themselves in a desperate situation and have no other resource but to appeal to charity.

Another biblical exhortation comes from the pen of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 6:12. He wrote “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” That word “expedient” could be translated “for my good.” An example of that might be that of eating an excessive amount of junk food. Some seem to get by with it, but most don’t. It may be that you aren’t directly hurting anyone else if you do that, but it isn’t for your good. Sooner or later you will pay for it. There are other applications that could be made of what Paul said. You are out of order if what you are doing brings you under the power of it.

Some are out of order because they have an erroneous concept of who they are. It is possible to fall into one of two extremes. Some suffer from an inferiority complex. They have little or no self confidence and don’t think others should put confidence in them. The other extreme is narcissism {pride}. They are proud of themselves and don’t understand why others don’t praise them. The Apostle Paul has some good counsel for those in both of these extremes. Those who suffer from an inferiority complex need to read what he wrote in I Corinthians 15:10. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” The genuine Christian is a child of God and the object of his love. To understand that gives us worth. Those who suffer from narcissism need to read Romans 12:3. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Christians may at times feel like they are out of order because they don’t have the same moral values that many around them have. At times they are hurt by remarks others make about them, but the truth is that many respect Christians because they have strength of character that they wish they had. As Christians, our desire above all should be to please God. I Thessalonians 4:1 says, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” Again in II Timothy 2:4 we read “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

If you feel that you are in order, ask God to help you stay in order. We will never be perfect, but if we pray like Daniel prayed in Psalm 139:23-24 God will show us when we are out of order. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” If you feel you are out of order, with God’s help you can get in order.

(4)

                    Dangers of the “I Don’t Care” Attitude

Does it matter to you that others are hurt by your actions?  If it doesn’t, then I’m sorry, but you have an “I don’t care” attitude.  Maybe you say, “I just hurt people I don’t know.” Even then, you eventually hurt yourself and those who love you.  There are laws against hurting people, even those you don’t know.  Sooner or later you will fall under the clutches of the long arm of the law.

All over the country broken hearted parents are in the waiting rooms of county jails.  They are there because a son or daughter has been arrested and incarcerated.  They love their son or daughter or they wouldn’t be there.  Many times they are willing to pay a lawyer and bail them out.  They can’t believe a child of theirs would do such a thing, but they have to face reality.

The law is usually lenient on “first offenders.” Sometimes they just go to jail for a short time for “shock treatment.”  It is hoped that with that they will repent and never do it again.  That works for some, but those with the “I don’t care” attitude will be back again.

God, our maker, has given us freedom of the will.  That means when you get out from under the supervision of your parents you can make your own choices.  Trees and plants don’t have freedom of the will.  To a certain extent, animals have it.  Sometimes dogs run away and get run over on the highway.  Cats may jump up on the kitchen counter and eat food that was prepared for human consumption.  When they do, they may be chased out of the house with a broom and left out in the rain.  You too, if you make bad choices, will face the consequences.  You need to know how to put limits on your liberty.  (See my article on this web page entitled “Liberty With Limits” under “Various Themes”)

You are poorly educated if you haven’t learned to place limits on our liberty.  You are in danger of hurting yourself and others; even those who love you.  Most parents make an effort to teach their children that there are limits to their liberty.  Many times they don’t make as much of an effort as they should.  In our society, they are somewhat limited because the law doesn’t always let them use corporal (physical) discipline.  Our society is then forced to resort to jail time as an effort to teach people lessons they could have learned in childhood when they were much more teachable.  A young tree can be made to grow in a different direction, but once it is older it’s almost impossible.

Don’t blame your parents or society.  If you are going to enjoy life, you will need to educate yourself as to the limits you need to put on your liberty.  The best and quickest way to learn that is found in the word “love.” It isn’t romantic love, but the love you owe to others.  Romans 12:9-10 says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” We won’t want to hurt those we love.

Our first obligation is to love God.  In Matthew 22:37-39  Jesus reduced the Ten Commandments to two.  They are these, “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.   This is the first and great commandment.   And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  With God’s help, we can even love our enemies.  That’s what God tells us to do in Luke 6:27.  “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”  If you have love in your heart for your family, your friends, even your enemies, it will give you a great deal of discernment about what is right and wrong.

A great turning around takes place when you come into the right relationship with God.  Don’t ignore the fact that God loves you more than anyone on earth.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He loved you so much that he was willing to give his son, Jesus, to die in your place so you could be forgiven and have everlasting life.  God loves you, but you have hurt him over and over again by things you have said and done.  You need to come to him and ask him to forgive you.  Then ask him to make you a child of his as it says in John 1:12.  “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.”  In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” It isn’t hard to obey someone we love.

Love for God and others will give you victory over the “I don’t care” attitude.  You can’t undo the past, but with God’s help you can get your life turned around.  You can stop hurting others, especially those who love you, because you love them.  II Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Why don’t you pray now and ask God to forgive you?  It will be the beginning of a new and wonderful life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(740)

Suicide? – Don’t Do It

February 17, 2015

                                                                                   Suicide? – Don’t Do It

Suicide shouldn’t even be considered. If you are considering it, you may say, “But you don’t know the situation I’m in.” That’s true, but you don’t know what a glorious future you could have if you would accept a solution. Suicide is an option, but it’s never the only or the best option. Sometimes the darkest hour is just before the dawn. There is still reason for living. God has a glorious plan for your life if you will seek it.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. People commit suicide for many reasons. It is nearly always because of stress caused by personal problems. It is an act of desperation. It appears to be the last and only resort.

“Every 21 minutes a teenager commits suicide in the United States.” [i] Many times teenagers face stress because of a broken love affair. A young man takes his life because his girlfriend broke off her relationship with him. Sometimes it is the girl who does it. Perhaps teenagers aren’t mature enough to handle broken relationships. A loss often needs to be followed by a time of grieving. Adults many times face that too. Sometimes teenagers commit suicide as an act of revenge because they didn’t get their way. Teenager, you still have your life ahead of you.

Some commit suicide to escape the consequences ahead of them because of imprudent decisions they have made. They may be financial decisions. Sometimes it’s because of an illicit relationship. It may be caused by depression because of hardships and losses. Some are caused by prescription or illicit drugs.

If you are contemplating suicide please, please stop to think of the grief it would cause your family and friends. Not only will they grieve your loss.  They may suffer from guilt feelings. They think of things they could have done that might have prevented you from doing it.   Suicide is a cruel, shameful way to treat those who love you.

Suicide may appear to be an option if you find yourself in desperation. Seek counsel from someone you trust before making a decision of that magnitude.  It is almost certain that they can suggest some other and better options.

Ask yourself two questions. The first question is “Why am I here?” To answer that question, you need to realize that you are a creation of God. You may say, “It’s my life. I’ll do what I want to with it.” No, your life is not your own. You are here because God willed it. Life is sacred. Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Only God has a right to end your life. God doesn’t do anything without purpose or plan. God put you here, and he has a purpose for your being here. Christ died on the cross to make it possible for God to forgive you. Put your complete trust in him and receive him as your Lord and Savior. He will forgive you and make you a child of his. Then, if you will let him, he will guide you and give you a reason for living. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Don’t expect God to show you in an instant his plan for your entire life. The verbs in that verse are in the present. Little by little he shows you his plan. He can help you out of your desperate situation and show you the way ahead.

The second question you need to ask yourself is “Where will I go after this life?” You need to know that after this life there are only two destinations for the soul. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” John 3:36 explains the two destinies. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” If you aren’t a child of God, taking your life will not be the end. It will be the beginning of the wrath of God.

The following are some resources for those contemplating suicide:

The Samaritans/ samaritans.org

National suicide prevention lifeline 1-800-799-4889

Call the pastor of a local Bible believing church.

[i] “Teenager, Someone Does Care!” Fletcher A. Brothers, P. 46 The Sword Of The Lord press, 1984

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

(219)

Disappointments And Disillusions

There are many disappointments and disillusions in life.  It’s impossible to escape from them entirely, but there are ways of avoiding some of them.  Many disappointments result from misplaced confidence.  “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!” (Isaiah 31:1)  Horses sometimes get scared and run away.  Chariot wheels sometimes fall off.  On today’s models they get flat tires.

We can’t live without putting confidence in others, but we need to be discerning.  Fortunate are those who have the ability of being a good judge of character.  Sometimes we are obligated to trust someone without having been given a choice.  Some people are very adept at hiding their true character.  They can be loving, thoughtful, and outgoing.  They don’t draw the net until they have their victim in their grasp.

The hearts of many have been broken because they trusted in a marriage partner who proved to be unfaithful.  I have known many young girls who thought they married a Christian.  Sometime after the wedding they realized that he was an unbeliever disguised as a believer.  Young Christian girls who are producing the fruits of the spirit are attractive.  I can see why young men would be attracted to them.  The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,    Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

In Matthew 7:12 Jesus said, “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.” That means we shouldn’t be guilty of disappointing or deluding others.  We should live our life in such a way that those who put their trust in us will not be disappointed.  It is possible that some may expect more of us than we are capable of producing.  Some may misinterpret or misunderstand something we have said.  As much as possible, we should be transparent.

The Bible relates a time when two of Jesus disciples were disillusioned. These disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus.  As they walked, they talked about the disappointment that resulted from the crucifixion of Jesus.  It is found in Luke   24:13-21 “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.   And they talked together of all these things which had happened.    And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.    And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?    And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, what things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:    And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.”   There were two reasons for their disappointment.  First they were either ignorant of, or disregarded Jesus promise to raise from the dead after three days.  They were right in thinking that the Messiah would set up a kingdom.  Biblical prophecy tells us that he will still do it, but Jesus never promised to deliver Israel from Rome during his earthly ministry.

Disappointments and disillusions affect us emotionally.  They may leave us with a lack of security.  We may have fears. Some go into depression if they have had a succession of disappointments. People who have gone through a divorce often find it difficult to love and trust another marriage partner.

It gives us stability if we have friends who have proven that they can be trusted.  That’s why it’s important to be part of a good local church.  Even there, you can be disappointed, but it is less likely.  When we see someone struggling because they have been disappointed and disillusioned, we should come along side of them and give them encouragement.

Trusting in God doesn’t mean we will never suffer.  Job 13:15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Many have been slain because they refused not to trust in God.  Erwin W. Lutzer has a good explanation of this. “Those Christians who conclude that evil triumphs because God is too weak to hold Satan back will find no hope in their distress.  But those who trust that God is still firmly in control even when they suffer great persecution know that they will one day be compensated for the sacrifices they endure.  They share the Apostle Paul’s conviction ‘that our present sufferings are not worthy comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18).  And they are sustained by the fact that the greater their present suffering, the greater their future glory.” “The Cross In The Shadow Of The Crescent”  P. 93 Harvest House Publishers ISBN 9780736951326

There is one person we can always trust.  Psalm 40:4 says, “Blessed  is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” Repeatedly the Bible tells us to trust in God.  Have you put your trust in God?  First of all, we need to trust in God for salvation.  I John 5:10 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” To believe on the Son means to put your complete trust in him to save you from your sin.  When you do that, John 1:12 says you will become a child of God.  We can expect God to do a lot more for his children than he will for those who aren’t.  If we trust in God and his promises he will guide us and provide for us.  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  You will never be disappointed or disillusioned because of having put your trust in God.

Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(687)

Abundant Grace In Time of Deepest Need

            Sooner or later all of us will have to pass through “the valley of the shadow of death.” If we are in a close relationship with God, he has promised to give us sufficient grace to meet our need.  “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” (II Corinthians 9:8).

Pain comes in two ways.  There is physical and emotional pain.  Doctors treat physical pain in two ways.  They treat the ailment to relieve the pain.  They also have medications to relieve the pain until healing comes.  Relief from emotional pain comes, if possible, by correcting the malady that is causing the pain.  If that isn’t possible, relief comes by the comfort and consolation we receive from friends and relatives.  It also comes, to believers, by the grace of God.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to face the reality that our loved one is near the point of death. There comes a time when the doctor has to say, “I’m sorry, but there is nothing more we can do except relieve the pain as much as possible.” When that time comes we need to commit him or her into the hands of God.  We can do that by praying, “Dear God, I know that nothing is impossible with thee.  You can still heal, but may your will be done.”

If we refuse to accept reality, the frustration and hurt will be even greater.  Some believers feel guilty because they think that accepting the inevitable is a lack of faith.  They go to the last minute expecting a miracle from God.  At the hour of death they feel that either God failed to answer their prayer, or they didn’t have enough faith.

Doctors don’t always tell the patient that death awaits them.  Sometimes they tell close relatives the sad truth and expect them to tell their loved one.  Sometimes the patients loved ones don’t want to face him with the truth.  They tell him a lie instead of the truth.  On more than one occasion I have gone to the hospital to visit someone whom I knew was dying. I was met at the door by one of his relatives who said, “Please don’t tell him that he is dying.” I had to tell them “In that case I had best not go in, because if he asks me if he is dying, I would have to tell him the truth.”

I know it isn’t pleasant to be the bearer of bad news.  Once we had an old man in our church whose wife was dying.  His daughters didn’t want to tell him the truth, but they knew he should know it.  They ask me to tell him.  The old man was extremely hard of hearing. When I talked to him he was sitting in the sun beside their little pre-fab house.  I had to shout in his ear to make him hear.  I wondered if some of their neighbors may have received the news at the same time.

On two occasions, when I was a young pastor, it was my lot to give direction and spiritual consolation to women whose husbands died.  I felt extremely incompetent because I had never been in their situation, and couldn’t relate to their suffering.  God revealed to me that it wasn’t necessary for me to feel their pain.  It was just for me to share with them the love of God, as it’s revealed in the Bible, and help them rest in the abundant grace that God gives for such times of grief.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, said “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13).  Of course there will be sorrow, but, thanks to God, we have hope.  In Argentina, at a funeral, I have seen grown men throw themselves on the ground and have what appeared to be a child’s temper tantrum.  It was because, being without God, they had no hope.  Believers find consolation in God.  II Corinthians 1:3 says, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” In our time of great need we can also claim the promise of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

The loss of one’s mate leaves one with a great void in his or her life.  It is a trauma that leaves one in danger of falling into depression.  For that reason, it’s important that those who are close to the bereaved stay at their side as much as possible to give them consolation.  They can do things with and for the bereaved to show love and attention.  It’s not good for the bereaved to pass a lot of time alone.  One of the difficult tasks is that of sorting through the departed loved one’s personal things and deciding what to do with them.  There will also be legal matters to attend to, and bills to pay.

If you have lost a loved one, especially if it is your mate, you need the strength that others can give you.  Sometimes there is the temptation to be alone and feel sorry for yourself.  Don’t do that.  Stay faithful in a friendly church.  Perhaps you could ask your pastor if he could suggest something you could do to occupy your time.  Stay close to God and find in him your strength.  “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.   The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed” (Psalm 28:7-8).

The loss of a loved one may be the cause of the most intense pain you will experience in life.  It’s a pain that is healed over time and by the grace of God.  Many have passed through “the valley of the shadow of death” and have gone on to live a normal useful life.  They are a testimony to the victory that God can give by means of his grace.  Some of my readers look ahead to that time in their life.  If you are one of them, may God guide you to be prepared to have the proper reaction.  Others of my readers have already passed through that valley and are looking back.  If you are one of them, thank God for the blessing your loved one was to you and pray that God will give you grace, strength and wisdom to go on seeking and doing his will.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

(516)

Spiritual Tragedies

December 15, 2012

Spiritual Tragedies

            It is sad to see what could be called a spiritual tragedy.  There is no good reason why they should happen, but they do.  When there is a spiritual tragedy we naturally ask, why did it happen?

The most common example of a spiritual tragedy is what happens when someone is supposedly converted to Christ but, after a time, goes back into sin.  The ironic thing about it is that there was what appeared to be repentance and a turning from sin.  He began reading the Bible and faithfully attending church.  In some cases he was even given a ministry in the church.  It is some consolation to know that it isn’t something new.  The Apostle Paul indicates that it also happened in the primitive church.  I Timothy 1:19-20 says “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:   Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

Those who abandon the good life don’t always do it suddenly.  Sometimes they start walking in a way that takes them into the broad way.  At other times it seems to be abruptly.  What happened?  Every case is different.

I have observed a number of stumbling blocks that have caused people to fall.  I would like to mention some of them.

When it happens to children or young people it could be that their parents are to blame.  Many children and young people have been in our churches.  They have made a decision for Christ and have sat under the teaching of how to live the Christian life.  Unfortunately, if their parents aren’t believers they may be quick to take them out of church if they receive criticism or if church activities interfere with other activities.  The following are some reasons they sometimes have for taking their children out of the church.

*  Sometimes the parents realize that in church their children are being taught to have higher standards than they have.  To avoid the          embarrassment of having lower moral standards than their children do, they take them out of church.

*  At other times parents pull their children out of church on Sunday so they can enroll   them in such things as music classes, dance lessons or athletic teams.

The snare that most often pulls young people away from church is the influence of their peers.  Most young people are vulnerable to peer pressure.  They give in to the temptation to participate in carnal passions.  For many young people, keeping themselves pure, is too great a sacrifice.

Others drop out of church because they have a chance to get a job that requires that they work on Sunday.  They say to themselves, “Why not take a job on Sunday if it will enable me to get the things I want”?

Some leave the good life because they were offended by something someone did or said.  Maybe that person was just trying the help them, but they took it the wrong way.  On the other hand, it may be that they had reason for being hurt, but they weren’t willing to forgive and forget.

Negligence in maintaining a close personal relationship with the Lord is a common reason for abandoning the Christian life.  Our hearts get cold if we don’t discipline ourselves to read the Bible and pray daily.

It is my hope that these lines will be read by those who are a spiritual tragedy.  Friend, if this is your case, I urge you to ask yourself if you have truly, honestly accepted Christ as your Savior.  II Corinthians 13:5 says “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  If you aren’t sure about your salvation there is still hope.  Right now you can pray and say “Oh God, I thought I was a child of yours, but I haven’t been living like I should.  I now ask you to forgive me and receive me as one of your own.”

If you have departed from the straight and narrow way and have disgraced your church, your Christian friends and your Lord you can ask God to forgive you and restore you to fellowship with him.  Psalm 25:7 says “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

I can understand that there is a big rock of offence ahead of you.  It is pride.  You have to admit that you made a mistake; that you are on the wrong road.  You don’t need to go on missing the rich blessings that come from obeying God.  I John 1:9  promises  that God will forgive you and cleanse you.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Don’t go on being a spiritual tragedy.  Forgiveness and restoration can be yours.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

(499)

                                                                    How To Be Happy In The Midst Of Adversity

 

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Cowards give up when the going gets tuff.  They lack the inner strength it takes to fight adversity.  They would rather surrender than fight.  They lack faith in the power of God to sustain them and give them victory.

Adversity can and should strengthen our relationship with God.  It puts us in the arena where we can claim God’s promises and see what he can do.  We can claim promises like Philippians 4:13.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  The advice of the Apostle Paul is “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

Some time back I read the book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriett Beecher Stow.  It made a tremendous impact on the thinking of the American people before the Civil War.  It made an impact on me too.  It was written to reveal the cruelty of slavery.  It made chills run down my spine to think of what some of those African Americans suffered.  Sometimes they were beaten so bad that they were left at death’s door.  Faith in God enabled many of them to go on.  Many couldn’t read the Bible, but verses they had memorized gave them strength.  I have never suffered the pain and shame of a cruel whipping.  If they could come out on the victory side under that kind of suffering, why should I surrender when I face adversity?  II Corinthians 9:8 gives me the promise of power to be faithful.  “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.”

Hebrews chapter 11 gives us a history lesson of some of the heroes of the faith.  Verses 9 – 11 tell us about Abraham.  It says “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:   For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”   We also anticipate a heavenly dwelling place, but in the mean time we may have to endure tribulation in this world.  Jesus said “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  What does it matter if we have some adversity now?  Do you remember the text  at the beginning of this article?

Sometimes the African slaves were commanded to whip another slave.  Instead of doing it, some faced their masters and said “Take my life if you will, but I will not beat a brother of mine.”  Sometimes their masters accepted the challenge and whipped the slave, only to realize that, for them, integrity took priority over fleshly comfort.

Sometimes the question is ask, “What would happen if I was to give in and deny my faith in Christ?  Would I lose my salvation?”  No, not if you were truly saved, but you would most certainly lose the crown that has been promised.  James 1:12 says “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”  The crown is for those who endure tribulation.  God allows us to pass through tribulation in order that he might perfect us.  Job 23:10 says “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

I believe there will be various levels of torment in hell for the unbelievers who go there.  It will be according to the extent of their wickedness in this life.  God is a just God.  II Corinthians 5:10 says he will give to every one what he deserves.  “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.”

Likewise, in heaven, the believers will receive rewards according to what they have done.  I Corinthians 3:12-15 says “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Some may get to heaven, but it means that they won’t get the reward promised to those who endure tribulation.

Perhaps some ask, “If I turn traitor and deny my Lord to escape persecution, can’t I return to follow the Lord again after the tribulation has passed?”  Yes, you can and you should.  God is always willing to forgive, but that doesn’t mean you will still get your rewards.  If we could only comprehend the greatness of those rewards, we wouldn’t be so quick to sacrifice them in exchange for a little fleshly comfort.

Brother, sister, if you are passing through adversity, be faithful.  Once you plant your feet on eternity’s shore, you will be glad you remained faithful.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(781)

Striving Lawfully

October 20, 2012

Striving Lawfully

            Sometimes, when we ask someone, “How is it going friend?” he responds by saying, “I’m still fighting.”  It’s true that, in this life, we have to keep fighting to stay on top.  Near the end of his life the Apostle Paul said, “I have fought a good fight” (II Timothy 4:7).  I would like to give you some advice about fighting a good fight.

We are destined to failure if we don’t fight, or if we don’t strive lawfully.  Some go from defeat to defeat because they aren’t willing to learn from their failures.  If we don’t face honestly our problems and deal with them as we should, we will face even bigger problems farther on.  For example, some parents fail in the education of their children because they pamper them instead of making them do what they don’t want to do.  When their children are older they aren’t willing to fight to succeed.

Some fail because they don’t strive lawfully.  They try to get what they want by force.  That’s the philosophy of the criminal.  It isn’t that they aren’t fighting, but they aren’t doing it legitimately.  They have to fight on two fronts.  They fight to get what they want, and then they have to defend themselves from those who don’t approve of what they are doing. They are going in opposition to the law.  II Timothy 2:4-5 says “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.   And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

Defeat is inevitable if you are fighting against God.  Satan has many deceived into thinking they can break God’s laws and still come out winning.  They strive against a God who loves them and has provided for their well being.  There is no way we can out smart the one who had the wisdom, knowledge, and power to create the universe.  It may appear that some are winning against God, but we don’t see what they face after they die.  If they haven’t accepted Christ as their Savior before they die the Bible says they will appear at the “Great White Throne judgment.”  “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12, 15).

Sometimes children and young people fight against their parents in an effort to get permission to do things they shouldn’t do.  Parents who give in to them are later ashamed when their children make foolish mistakes.  Our Heavenly Father never gives in to us.  He knows what’s best for us.  If we refuse to obey we will pay later on.

Life is a struggle, but we should make sure that we are striving lawfully.  God, in his word, tells us that we should strive to do what is right.  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).  Much of the strife of life is against the temptations that come from our carnal nature.  We need to be familiar with, and take heed to the following portions of God’s Word:

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (I Timothy 6:8).  “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.   But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).  “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (I Peter 3:11,17).

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1204)

Guided By Discretion

August 17, 2012

Guided By Discretion

    “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:  To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;  Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths”  (Proverbs 2:10-15).

In this article we aren’t going to make any distinction between wisdom and discretion.  Salomon used the word “wisdom” in verse 10.  There is little difference between the two words.  Discretion is the ability to make wise decisions.  Fortunate is the one who has that ability.  In spite of what some may think, it isn’t something we are born with.  Our text says it is something that has to enter into our heart.

Our heart and mind need to be open if wisdom is to enter in.  Then it takes something more.  We can’t take nourishment only by opening our mouth.  We have to have something to put into our mouth.  Perhaps we have to work to be able to buy food.  Most often it needs to be prepared.  Then it has to go from our plate to our mouth.  Something similar needs to take place if we are to acquire wisdom.

If we aren’t hungry, most likely we won’t put food in our mouth.  We also have to have a desire to learn if we are going to acquire wisdom.  If we want it, we have to make an effort to get it.  Proverbs 2:6 says that God gives wisdom, but Proverbs 2:2 says that we have to incline our ears to wisdom and apply our heart to understanding.  Salomon is often considered the wisest man the world has ever known.  He had to ask for wisdom.  II Chronicles 1:11-12 says “And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:   Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.”  In James 1:5 God promises to give us wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Our text says that knowledge needs to be pleasant to our soul.  Wisdom can’t function when there is no knowledge.  A good definition of wisdom is that it is the intelligent application of knowledge.  For that reason, we need to be willing to learn.  Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Many seek knowledge in order that they might have a good salary.  There is nothing wrong with that, but we also need the knowledge that teaches us how to live. Some have knowledge that enables them to make money, but they are a failure in their personal life.  Their home is a disaster.  They spend their money foolishly.  Some are deep in debt.

Such people are a perfect example of what proverbs 12:15 says.  “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”  It’s never wrong to seek counsel.  Some young people disdain advice they receive from their parents and elders.  They need to know that the best advice comes from God.  It’s found in his Word.  It’s never wrong.  We have to be humble and willing to accept counsel.  Sometimes good advice is rejected because it is taken as criticism.  It’s unfortunate that many are willing to pay a high price for advice from a psychologist when they could have received better advice rom the old folks next door, and it wouldn’t have cost them anything.

If you find yourself in serious problems, you need to seek counsel, but it’s best that you receive it from someone who has a good amount of Bible knowledge.  That way you can take advantage of their wisdom.  It isn’t always easy to take heed to their advice.  Sometimes it means that you will need to ask forgiveness and say, “I was wrong.  I’m sorry.”  It may mean you will need to make some sacrifices.  You may need to change your life style.

Don’t expect everything to change from one day to the next.  If you have been on the wrong road for some time, it has no doubt led you into some bad habits.  It may take time to change them.  God has promised to give us discretion.  Discretion will help you know what changes you need to make.  Discretion will guard you from being deceived by wicked men.

Don’t get discouraged.  All is not lost.  It may be that your loss is really your gain.  You are leaving behind bad attitudes, and wrong ways of thinking.  What you are gaining will help you in establishing good and lasting relationships.  If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that could be your greatest gain.  If you trust him as your Savior, and surrender your life to him, he will guide you in making wise decisions.

There remains for you a glorious future if you are willing to take seriously and put into practice what Proverbs 3:13-18 tells us.  “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.  She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.    Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.    Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.    She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

(554)

In A Fight

August 6, 2012

In A Fight

             The victorious Christian is one who is willing to enter into a fight.  He has been fighting since the day he received Christ as his Savior.  That’s what it takes to bring the old nature into submission to the will of God.  The Apostle Paul described that fight in I Corinthians 9:25-27 in these words “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.   I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:   But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  The struggle will never end as long as we are in this life, but I can tell you that it will get easier as we mature.

A defeated Christian is one who never entered the fight.  It can also be one who entered the fight and grew weary and stopped striving.  For that reason, Paul admonishes us in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” When we face an obstacle in our path there is often the temptation to evade it.  It may be the problem of a bad habit.  You may think, “Later on I’ll fight that battle when I have a little more fortitude.” But, as time goes on, the habit is apt to put down deeper roots, making it more difficult to be conquered.

Some fight their battles unsuccessfully because they don’t fight legitimately.  They try to get what they want in their own strength.  That’s the philosophy of a criminal.  If he can’t get what he wants legitimately, he will do it illegitimately.  II Timothy 2:4-5 says “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” We can’t fight spiritual battles in the strength of our flesh.  The Apostle Paul learned that.  In Romans 7:18-19 he wrote “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.   For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

God gives us strength to fight and win.  Colossians 1:10-11 says “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;   Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” Philippians 4:13 gives us a promise that every Christian needs to claim if he is to be victorious.   “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” In Ephesians 3:16 Paul said “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” How is that possible?  In chapter six of Ephsians, and verses 11-18, we read “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.   For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.   Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;   Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

If you are one of those who say “I don’t have the strength to live the Christian life” let me say “Your right.  You can’t.  But, by the power of Christ you can.” Don’t be a defeated Christian.  If you have fought the battle and lost, don’t quit.  God has promised the victory.  Go at it again, claiming the victory.  “Then onward from the hills of light, our hearts with love aflame; we’ll vanquish all the hosts of night in Jesus conquering name.” (From the old hymn Faith Is The VictoryMay those words echo in your ears as you go on from victory to victory.

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(490)