Helping Homeless People

June 19, 2019

Helping Homeless People

By Russell George

Many of our big cities are struggling with the serious problem of homeless people. They set up their tents on the sidewalks of the residents. They throw their trash on the lawn behind their tents, or in the street. Since they don’t have bathroom facilities, they defecate on the grass or in the street. It is an embarrassment to the owners of the property. Their neighborhood stinks to high heaven. All indications are that this is a problem that will only get worse.

Studies need to be done to find out who these people are and why they are without homes. Is it because they have little education and no job skills? Did they drop out of high school? On average, what is their G.P.A. (grade point average)? Do they come from broken homes? Are they lacking in motivation? On average, what percentage of them are drug addicts? How many have a police record?

What is to be done about the problem? Everyone agrees, they need help. But what is the best way to help them? Obviously, they need housing. That is the first thought. If we use government money to build houses for them, will they be able to pay the rent? Of course not. They couldn’t even pay the electric and water bills. If we provide it for them without charge, will they take care of the property? Most likely they won’t. Even renters of low cost housing often leave the house they rent a disaster. They stop paying the rent and have to be evicted after three or four months.

If we give homeless people money so they can rent a place to live, would that be the solution? For most of them, it wouldn’t be. It is obvious that many of them are using drugs so they would spend their money for that. Instead of buying their food, they would continue to ravage garbage cans for food or steal it if they could.

Sometimes one hears news commentators criticize the mayors of the city for not doing anything about it, but what are they to do? Any financial help given to them has no promise of being a permanent solution.

Their real needs lie within them. Just providing for their material needs will not be a permanent solution. If nothing is done to change them from within they will forever be a burden to society. If people have no initiative or aren’t willing to work, and they are given welfare money, they aren’t really being helped. What is it that they really need?

It is often said, “You get what you pay for.” It could also be said, “You get what you prepare for.” If we have made no preparation for a happy, prosperous life we have no reason to expect that we will have one. People need to be made to face reality. If you make no preparation for life, you will have a miserable life. To give homeless people a nice home in which to live is to facilitate them in their indolent life style. Yes, they need housing, but why not build them wood frame buildings like farmers build for their livestock? That puts a roof over their heads. They could be provided with men and women’s bathrooms and shower stalls with nothing but cold water. Some would object to that and say, “That would be treating them like animals.” But, why give them what they haven’t prepared for? To do so gives children and young people reason for saying, “Why should I make an effort to prepare for life? It’s the duty of the government to provide for me.”

If they need food, why not give them 50 pound bags of rice or beans? It doesn’t need to be soybeans. For centuries people have been eating red beans, white beans and lima beans. Why should they feast on gourmet dishes when they haven’t made preparation for it?

Most of the homeless people have their life ahead of them. They aren’t senior citizens. It isn’t too late to help them prepare for something better. We as Christians could take the homeless people as a mission field. We could offer them a chance to change their situation. The proper approach would be to reach out to them in mercy and compassion. Let them know that God has something better for them if they will trust in Christ for salvation and then surrender to God and let Him direct their lives. We could show them promises like those in Psalm 37:3-4. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God has the power to change people from within. 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.”

If they surrender their lives to God we could make available to them what we could call “recovery schools.” There we could offer them a chance to recover the opportunity to get an education that they passed up when they were children and young people. The school would offer them food, shelter, used clothing, and help in getting out from under their drug addiction. To be able to stay in school they would be required to submit to the rules and authority of the staff. They would also be required to get passing grades in their classes. They would need to be taught to have initiative. They should be required to put in a certain number of hours of voluntary work in appreciation for all that is being done for them. If they failed, they would be put out in the street again.

They could be taught a trade so they would have something to offer the job market after they graduate. Few employers would even consider giving a job to someone living in a tent on the street. Once they complete at the recovery school, the school could give them a good reference so they would have a better chance of getting a job.

The recovery school should have a working relationship with a good local church in the area. All students would be required to attend church faithfully. The school would need to have buses to take the students to and from church. Bible classes could also be included in the curriculum of the school.

Businesses might be willing to donate food, merchandise and money to help cover the expense of maintaining the schools. Many people give to charity. Their donations should be accepted.

Seeing the increase of homeless people should be a warning to parents that their children might someday be among the homeless if they aren’t diligent in training them and motivating them to excel and have reason for living. Parents could point to the homeless people and say to their children, “You might some day be one of them if you don’t apply yourself to study and learn.”

There will always be those who refuse to accept help. If there is help available, and it is refused, we would have reason to say to homeless people, “Don’t blame us if we don’t help you. You had a chance to better yourself and you didn’t accept it.”

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* All married couples regularly looked for ways to make their mate happy.

* Everyone was honest and never lied or sought to deceive others and take advantage of them.

* No one was under the handicap of an addiction.

*All parents taught their children to submit to authority.

* Schools taught children how to think for themselves

* All felt a repugnance towards looking at pornography.

* No one was tempted to steal.

* Parents never had to hear their teen age daughter say, “I think I’m pregnant.”

It could be that way if the majority of people in our country were saved and surrendered to God. People who live the way God says we should aren’t a threat to the well being of our society. To the contrary, they are an asset to a peaceful, prosperous society. They don’t go around deceiving others and looking for ways to get for themselves what belongs to others. They have a happy marriage and a happy family.

People living the way God says we should don’t steal and commit crimes. They aren’t addicted to drugs or alcohol. They have a repugnance toward giving themselves to illicit fleshly desires.

People who love God want to share his love with others. They want to see others living the good life they are enjoying. They share the love of God with those around them and have compassion for hurting people.

Why then do you go on living your life as if there was no God, or if there is, you have no need of him? Is it of no concern to you that our culture is growing more and more immoral? don’t you have a desire to make a difference and make matters better instead of worse?

If you do care, the way to start making a difference in your life and the well being of our society is to come to God, confessing your sin, and asking God to forgive you, and make you one of his. Carefully consider the following verses from the Bible the tell us what we need to do.

1. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( I John 1:9).

2. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” ( Romans 10:9).

3. “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” ( Ephesians 2:8-10).

If you do these things you will start enjoying a better life and be a blessing to those around you.

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Drifting

March 16, 2019

Drifting

By Russell George

Imagine with me that you and your wife are on vacation. You are pulling your launch behind your car. You are traveling through a part of Wyoming where you have never been. After checking out of the motel where you spent the night, you start on the road again. After driving a few miles you find yourselves on a road along side of a gently flowing river. You say to your wife, “Hey, let’s pull off here and put the launch in the river and explore around a little here. She agrees. When you get to the middle of the river you decide to shut off the motor and just let the launch drift down the river. You plan to start the motor again in about a half hour and go back up the river to where you left your car.

You and your wife both stretch out on your hammocks and enjoy the ride. After a mile or more you find yourselves in a place where there are bluffs covered with trees on both sides of the river. What beautiful scenery!

What you don’t know is that in about five miles farther down the river there is a 25 foot waterfall. Your launch will plunge over the falls and be torn apart on the rocks below. You both have life preservers on but you will still most likely be thrown on the rocks where you will suffer some broken ribs and bruises. What an awful way to end a leisurely time drifting down the river!

If we rightly understand the Bible, such will be the end at death of those who are drifting through life without having given any consideration to what the Bible says about the gospel message. John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Christ’s death frees us from condemnation if we put our trust in him. Romans 5:8-9 says, “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.”

In Matthew 6:20 Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” We aren’t going to lay up any treasures in heaven by drifting through life. The only thing we can take to heaven with us is our memory. I would like to think that all we have forgotten will be restored to us when we get our glorified body. I’ll have to wait until I get to heaven to know if I’m right about that.

If we drift through life, making little effort to make our life count for something, there will be few, if any, rewards waiting for us when we get to heaven. Those of us who are senior citizens find great satisfaction in looking back and reliving the ways God has used us to make a difference in the lives of others. If we haven’t surrendered our lives to the Lord, he can’t use us. Much of our life is spent just doing the “have to” things of life like working, sleeping, bathing, traveling to and from, etc. In heaven the only satisfaction we we will get from those things will be that we did what we had to do. The thing that gives us the greatest satisfaction is the way we have lived our life. That which will earn us rewards in heaven will be what we did that we didn’t have to do. They are things like how we used our talents, how we gave our money, and our time to serve God and others. We don’t do those things while drifting through life. They take effort and sacrifice on our part.

Many, with the help of our government, have perfected the art of drifting. They have found ways of getting unemployment checks and food stamps. That way they don’t have to put forth any effort to pay their way through life. They may be limited as to what they can do, but they can spend their time playing golf, watching television, or what ever they find enjoyment in doing. Work, for them, is housekeeping. Maybe they can console themselves by saying, “I’m not hurting anyone.” Yes, but they aren’t of any earthly good. They don’t feel guilty about living at the expense of tax payers because the financial help they receive is called an entitlement.

Christians have the promise found in Philippians 4:19. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That doesn’t mean they can drift through life and expect God to supply all their needs. Again and again in the Bible we find indications that God expects his people to work. Consider the following verses. “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” (Proverbs 18:9), “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Proverbs 13:4, and II Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

God doesn’t look with favor on you if you are drifting through life. You can claim the promise of Philippians 4:19 if you are handicapped and can’t work. If that is your situation, others can enjoy the blessing and rewards of God by helping to meet your needs.

Even if we have surrendered our life to the Lord to do his will, we still need to be constantly seeking his will about how we can and should use our time and talents to serve him. It is easy for Christians to get occupied in trivial things like hobbies or entertainment. Maybe those aren’t sinful things, but the time could be used in more profitable things. Maybe God wants to burden your heart about the hurting people who are suffering because of their sinful lifestyle or the sinful life style of others around them. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Hurting people often respond to those who offer them consolation. They are willing to listen when someone shares the gospel with them. When they see that you are enjoying a peace that passes all understanding they want to know what makes the difference.

We need to seek out those who are hurting. By reading the local newspaper you can find the names of those who have lost a loved one. I you can find their address you can go by their house and give them a bag of cookies and some Christian literature. Try to make their acquaintance. You might offer to take them out for coffee. Perhaps you can go to the hospital during visiting hours and go room to room offering consolation to those who are suffering. Relatives visiting them may also need consolation. Let them know that someone cares and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them. Leave them a gospel tract with your name, address, and telephone number on it.

Don’t be a drifter. Be a doer. Make your life count for something. You will be glad you did.

Drifting – Part Two

By Russell George

There is a time when drifting is justified. Every night we need to drift off to sleep. We need to set time limits on how long we sleep. Proverbs 6:9-11 says, “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” The sluggard sleeps too much. He sleeps when he should be gainfully employed. We need sleep. It contributes to our health and well being. It enables us to do a good days work, but no one gets paid to sleep. We don’t get any work done while we are sleeping. Poverty comes to those who sleep too much.

Drifting goes on all the time. Some are more guilty than others. We tend to follow the crowd. We think like those around us. It’s easy to just believe what we hear instead of giving thought to what we hear and accepting or rejecting it. There is what is called “group think.” The way people think depends on the group they are in. Some might ask, aren’t Christians expected to be drifters because they are expected to accept what they are told? Isn’t that group think? Aren’t we expected to live by faith? That is and isn’t true. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

God not only tells us what we should believe, but he also tells us why we should believe it. When I was in seminary I took a course in sermon preparation. I was taught that a sermon should have a preposition. That means we should know what we expect to accomplish by preaching the sermon. Often the proposition begins with the words “You should… Our purpose was to tell people what they should believe or what the should do or not do. The sermon, of course, needs to have a text, or a portion of Scripture to base it on. Then the pastor develops his outline. It is to back up the proposition. His outline may have three or more main points. He prepares himself to tell people, “You should do or believe this, not only because of what the Bible says, but there are other logical reasons for believing or doing.”

Yes, we accept the Bible as the divine word of God. We should believe it and accept it. We don’t need to stop there. We have every reason for asking why. If we are logical in our reasoning we will conclude that there is good reason for our belief and actions.

Christians should be prepared to defend their beliefs. To say, “I believe it because that’s what the Bible says” may not be a satisfactory answer for an unbeliever. We can defend the authority of the Bible, but we can also say with authority, “People live better if they live the way God says they should.”

More and more colleges in our day are indoctrinating students in irrational ideologies. If someone comes along who doesn’t accept that ideology he isn’t allowed to set foot on the campus. They fear that their students may see that there is another point of view that makes more sense. Their students are told what to believe, but they can’t logically defend their beliefs.

If someone goes to a Christian college with some irrational political ideology he won’t have much success in getting the students to accept it. He will find that the students there have been taught to think for themselves and are prepared to defend what they believe.

In our day the word “racist” is used as a term of derision. Often the one being called a racist isn’t guilty of thinking that he or she is superior to those of other races. The truth is that he is called a racist because he doesn’t think like the one that calls him a racist. He is called a racist to put him down. Our country isn’t being divided by racial discrimination. What is dividing our country is the arrogance of some who think they are justified in putting down, even hating, those who don’t agree with them. Proverbs 29:27 says, “An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”

Those who drift through life nearly always come up short. Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Unfortunately our government has made it possible for drifters to get unemployment checks and food stamps. It is unfortunate that working people have to pay for that when they pay their taxes. Even so, drifters are limited in what they can attain. They are forever dependent. There is much more they would like to have and do, but they can’t.

God doesn’t look with favor on those who don’t work. God made Adam, the first man, and put him in the garden. Genesis 2:15 says, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Right from the beginning he expected him to work. It is work to keep a garden. As we go through the Bible we find other verses that indicate that God expects us to work. Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand.” Proverbs 13:4 also says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing.” Psalm 62:12 says, “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.” Last of all, we read in II Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Drifting is effortless. It is easy to be carried down stream. It takes effort to go up stream. Many young people start taking drugs because it is the “in thing” to do. They haven’t stopped to ask themselves, where will this take me? If they had any wisdom they would know that it leads to addiction. That is a terrible situation to be in.

If you have drifted into thinking like your group thinks you need to stop and ask yourself, “Am I justified in thinking this way? Have I thought this out? Do I have good justification for thinking this way or am I just thinking this way because my group thinks this way?”

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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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Chapter XXIV A Discipline Problem

On Sunday, after the Bible study, Dr. Alvarez proceeded with the matter of forming the directive committee. A number of the men raised their hands to say they were willing to serve on the committee. The doctor wrote their names on a white board so everyone could see them. Then he handed out a sheet of paper to all the adults and made sure they all had a ball point pen. “Now” he said, “On your paper I want you to write down the words secretary, treasurer, financial secretary, and member at large. Below each of those you can write the name of the man that you think could best serve in that capacity. Afterwords we will count the votes.” The votes were counted. Paul wasn’t chosen. He was a little disappointed, but he accepted it well.

Afterwords Dr. Alvarez asked “How many of you think we should invite Ralph and his family to come for a visit?” Everyone was in agreement. Dr. Alvarez said, “I’ll get a letter in the mail to him as soon as possible.”

On Monday, when Paul came home from work, he found Mary in tears. He asked her “What happened?” She said “Carlitos came home from school with a bad note. He has been suspended for three days for fighting on the play ground.” They called Carlitos and asked him what happened. As could be expected, he said “He hit me first.” Paul asked, “But why did you hit him?” Carlitos explained that they were playing soccer. “I had the ball and this boy hit me in the ribs with his shoulder and made me drop the ball. I lost my temper and hit him in the face. Then he hit me in the side of my head. I knocked him down, sat on him, and started beating on his shoulders. Others pulled me off. I was taken to the principle’s office. When they explained to her what happened she wrote me this note and told me not to come back to school for three days.”

They scolded Carlitos and Paul gave him a spanking. Then they both sat down, one on each side of him, and prayed that God would help him to control his temper the next time something like this happened. They both kissed him and assured him of their love.

Mary went to get supper ready. She was relieved that the problem had been solved. Paul started setting the table for her. Their relief didn’t last long, however. Someone was clapping their hands at the front gate. It was the mother of the boy that Carlitos fought with. She was furious. Paul and Mary both tried to calm her down, but with little success. She was insulting them with profanity. She threatened to take them to court. She said “Both of you aught to be in jail.” Silvia, their next door neighbor, heard what was going on. She came over and tried to help Paul and Mary calm her down. She wasn’t much help either. Finally the lady left, cursing them as she went. Mary went back in the house and burst into tears. Paul was angry. Carlitos was crying, knowing that he was the cause for what had happened.

Paul and Mary were new Christians and didn’t know how Christians should react under these circumstances. Paul said, “Sit down, sweet heart, and let’s think this over and decide how we should react. I confess, I’m angry. Do we have reason to be angry?” “Well I would think so” Mary answered. “Yes” said Paul, “We have reason to be angry, but will it do us any good? Perhaps she had reason for being angry with us, but I don’t see that it was our fault. It’s best that we just forget it and get supper ready. I’ll help you.” They both went to the kitchen.

While they were eating their supper Mary said, “I wonder what the neighbors are thinking. They must have heard what was going on. “That’s alright” Paul said. “Tomorrow we will explain it to them.”

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Chapter XXII Should Paul Rent The Store Front?

Paul needed to make a decision. He had finished the chests of drawers that the owner of their house wanted. The owner had given him permission to keep using the store front for a few more days so he could finish some more jobs that had come in. If someone was to rent the store front before he finished he would be left without a work place. He didn’t have the money to rent it.

The day came when the owner of their house came to pick up the chests of drawers he had made for him. Paul asked him to sit down because he had a question for him. He said, “If, by the end of the month, my earnings have been sufficient, I’ll sign a rent contract. Will you agree to that?” The owner said “Sure, I’ll agree to that.” Paul knew he would have to pray that more work would come in.

At the next Sunday morning Bible study Dr. Alvarez said he had a special announcement for them. He had a letter in his hand that he had received from his engineer friend. In the letter he said he had received a letter from a young couple in Buenos Aires who said they would be willing to consider coming to Chilecito to start a church. The man’s name was Ralph and his wife’s name was Joana. They had one child; a girl. Ralph had studied for two years in a seminary. He had experience in preaching but he had never pastored a church. He said they were willing to come to Chilecito for a visit if they invited them.

Dr. Alvarez said “I don’t want to invite them without your permission.” Then he said “Before we do that, I think it’s time that we started taking up offerings on Sundays. Before we do that, we need to form a directive committee. We need to have a treasure to keep track of the money and keep it in a safe place. That way, it isn’t just in my hands.”

There was a time of discussion. Someone asked if the Bible study group should offer to pay for the trip for the young couple. Dr. Alvarez said “I think that would be an excellent idea.” Someone else asked “Does this man, Ralph, have any skills? Will he be able to find a job here in Chilecito?” Dr. Alvarez said “That which would be ideal would be that we pay him a salary so he wouldn’t have to work. That is what most churches do.” “But” some one asked, “How could we raise enough money to pay him a salary?”

Dr. Alvarez explained to them that it would be impossible if everyone just put in one or two pesos in the offering every Sunday. In the Bible it talks about people giving 10% of their earnings to the Lord. It is called a tithe. In the Old Testament, what they gave sometimes even amounted to more than that. In the New Testament we don’t read anywhere that it is the Christian’s obligation to give a tithe to the Lord, but down through history many Christians have done that and God has always met their needs. Then he read to them Luke 6:38 which says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Then he said, “It’s just a matter of trusting the Lord and claiming his promise.”

There was more discussion about forming a directive committee. Dr. Alvarez said, “In my opinion we ought to chose at least four men to form the committee. One can be the treasurer, another the financial adviser, and one can be the secretary to keep notes of decisions that are made. The other will just be a member at large. I would like to give you a week to think about it and we will form the committee next Sunday.”

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Chapter XVII Being Used Of God

November 22, 2016

Chapter XVII Being Used Of God

Our last chapter told about the tragic death of Ralph, the neighbor of the Parks family. Mary couldn’t help but think that Silvia must be grieving something terrible over the loss of her husband. Dr. Alvarez had a part in the funeral. His wife, Adriana, talked briefly with Silvia at the cemetery and asked if she could come over the next day to talk to her.

Up to this point, Silvia hadn’t shown much interest in the things of God. She hadn’t accepted Mary’s invitation to attend the Bible studies on Sunday mornings. She did, however, accept Adriana’s offer to come and talk to her. Adriana sat down with her and opened her Bible to the book of Ruth. She said, “I know you must be suffering the loss of your husband. Here in the book of Ruth we find the story of a woman who suffered, not only the loss of her husband, but also of her two sons. Never the less, she continued strong in faith and in her trust in God.” Silvia was very grateful for the comforting words and asked Adriana if she could come back again the next day. Adriana said she would.

After the funeral Mary offered to go with Silvia to the telephone office and help her send a telegram to her family to tell them of her great loss. On the way Silvia asked Mary if she thought it was wise for her to put confidence in Mrs. Alvarez. Mary assured her that she would be wise to share her burdens with her.

The next Sunday morning Dr. Alvarez announced that he had received a letter from his friend in Santiago Del Estero. He said he had asked for a weeks vacation in March so he could come and preach to them. He asked all the people to promise that they would come every evening to the meetings. He also said that he hoped they would invite their neighbors and friends. He said he would like to take up an offering every night during the meetings. He explained to them that it was customary for churches to take up an offering every Sunday to pay their pastor and cover the expenses of the church. He said, “Since I have an income and we just meet in our house, I haven’t felt it was necessary to take up an offering every Sunday. This offering I want to take up in the special meetings will be to help cover the expenses of my friend for his trip here. Everyone was in agreement.

After the meeting Dr. Alvarez gave Paul an envelope with money in it to pay for the wood his boss would need to build the shelves he wanted made. Paul felt honored that he trusted him with the money. As soon as he got home he put the envelope in a safe place so he could take it to work with him the next morning.

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A Change in Attitude Regarding What is Right

Some governments, and rightly so, spend a tremendous amount of money to stop the sale of illegal drugs. At the same time they permit the sale of something else that is equally devastating. That is the sale of alcoholic beverages. When I was a child bar tenders were the only ones who sold alcohol. Now it goes across the counter in grocery and convenience stores all over the country.

Rather than fight for laws to prohibit the sale of alcohol, it seems more logical to attempt to change people’s attitude regarding drinking it. At the same time, we need to change attitudes regarding illegal drugs.

Many are of the opinion that any and every special occasion must be celebrated with alcoholic beverages. That is an attitude that needs to be changed. Why use the occasion as an excuse for giving people something that is detrimental to them? It alters people’s minds to the point where they can’t think right or talk right. It isn’t safe for them to drive under its influence. It is detrimental to health. Are people so straitlaced that they can’t have a good time without their minds being altered?

For centuries Christians have been celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. without serving alcoholic beverages. Their celebrations are happy, festive occasions. Sometimes there may be an uproar of laughter and animated conversation. They have a rip roaring good time without consuming something that will alter their minds. Their reason for abstaining from alcohol is not because they are prudish or abstainers.

If one were to ask Christians why they don’t drink alcohol or serve it at their celebrations, after taking a little time to think, they would no doubt give two reasons. First of all they would say, “We have seen the damage that has been done by alcohol and we don’t want to put ourselves or others at risk.” Secondly they might say, “Because God says it is wrong.”

With just a minimum of observation, anyone can see the potential hazard of drinking alcohol. People who drink it are in danger of being addicted to it. It brings grief, loss, and heartache to many. Because if it, marriages and homes are broken, people are killed or left handicapped for life because of traffic accidents, and people lose their jobs and can no longer support their families.

Alcohol doesn’t contribute anything beneficial to our society. It is possible to live a happy, successful life without ever touching it. No one ever suffers because they abstain from it, but multitudes are suffering because they have given themselves to it.

It is with good reason that the Bible says, in Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Just plain common sense should tell you that it’s something you don’t need. If you have the proper attitude toward alcohol you will leave it alone.

If you have comments or questions you can send them to our e-mail address.  It is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Take Control Of Your Life

Millions of Americans have lost control of their lives due to addictions. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia says that in 2013 there were 120 million drug users. Little by little drug users become slaves to their addiction.

Many addicts like to think they still have control of their lives, but they are increasingly losing control. They lose their independence when they become dependent on something they can’t live without. Because of their addiction they do things they are ashamed of. Their addiction costs a great sum of money without adding anything worth while to their life. Alcoholics are a menace on the highways. They abuse their family members. They are in danger of losing their job if they come to work under its influence. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Countless millions of young people lose control of their lives because of drugs. Their minds are debilitated to the point where they can’t learn and prepare themselves to have a good job. They become more and more dysfunctional to the point where they die an early death.

Many lose control of their life because they resort to alcohol or a controlled substance in hopes it will help them cope with stress. In no way will it mitigate the cause of the stress. It becomes a crutch that they need to lean on more and more.

In times of stress obedient Christians find consolation, strength, and direction by means of their relationship with God. Stress is a part of life; for some more than others. God has provided his people with a means of facing stress without putting them in danger of losing control of their life. In II Peter he promised to give them all that pertains unto life and godliness. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” I Peter 5:7 also says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

If you aren’t addicted; flee from every temptation to be addicted. If you are already in the grips of an addiction, with God’s help you can take control of your life again. First you will need to become a child of God. To do that you must first recognize that you are a sinner under the condemnation of God. You will need to go to God in prayer and ask him to forgive you and make you a child of his. God will forgive you if you receive for yourself the sacrifice that Christ made when he died on the cross. John 1:12 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 you will need to surrender your life to God as we read in Romans 12:1. “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.” At first, it may seem like you are losing control of your life if you surrender it to God. Keep in mind that God has no slaves. He does have, however, an innumerable multitude of servants. They serve him of their own free will because they love him and want to please him.

Release from an addiction won’t come unless you are willing to do your part. For a time, withdrawal may be an agony, but it’s worth it. Think of your loved ones. You may become a burden to them. They will be ashamed to be identified with you. You will need to claim the promises of God. They are promises like Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Another is II Corinthians 9:8. “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 your struggle to be free from an addiction you will be greatly helped if you are a part of a good Bible believing Church. They will be a support group for you by praying for you and encouraging you.

Faith is the victory. There is hope for you. With God’s help you can take control of your life. He can help you change your desires so you won’t go on doing things that hurt you and those around you.

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