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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Loving Obedience

July 11, 2016

Loving Obedience

God wants his children to obey him, but even more than that, he wants them to love him. In John 14:15-16 we read that Jesus spoke the following words. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” Obedience without love is grievous. We do it because we feel it is our obligation. That isn’t the way the Christian life was meant to be lived.

We need to put first things first. Salvation needs to come first. Some try to live the Christian life without being saved. They may have good reasons for doing so. It may be because they see the benefits that come to those who abide by godly moral standards. It may be because they enjoy being in the company of Christians and want to be accepted by them. Whatever the case may be, if the time comes that they see that there are some personal advantages to be gained by violating Christian moral standards, it will be hard to resist the temptation.

When we are saved we enter into a personal relationship with God. We become a child of his. We have made reconciliation with God by accepting the sacrifice Christ made for us when he died on the cross. Romans 5:8-10 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. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” If we are saved we will love God because of all he has done for us. I John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.”

I John 5:2-3 tells us that it isn’t hard to keep God’s commandments when we love him. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Love transforms grievous obedience into loving obedience. Love is also what makes a marriage relationship what it ought to be. What is done for your spouse isn’t a burden if there is love. It needs to be mutual, love for one another.

Perhaps someone says, “I don’t love God. Therefore I have no obligation to keep his commandments.” He had best stop and think. We reap what we sow. Moral laws are for our good and the good of society. If we hurt others by the liberties we take, they will take revenge. The golden rule in Matthew 7:12, asks us to do for others what we want them to do for us. Since, in the final analysis, it is our duty to obey, it is much better that it be loving obedience. That means we do it because we want to; not because we have to.

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Forgive And Forget

June 13, 2016

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Worship Under Duress

May 12, 2016

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Good And Bad Pleasure

April 11, 2016

                                  Good and Bad Pleasure

Sometimes we hear the word “puritanical” used in speaking of the Christian life.  According to the Merriam Webser’s Dictionary, the word means “one who practices or preaches a very strict moral code.” There are those who think Christians cut themselves off from pleasure that is culturally acceptable.

With almost everything in life, there are extremes.  It is possible to go to the extreme in our self-denial.  Most people don’t have a problem with that.  The more common problem is to go too far to the other extreme.  This article was written to help Christians know where they should draw the line in regard to pleasure.  The criterion for unbelievers is to ask if a certain behavior is culturally acceptable.  The criterion for God’s people should be to ask two questions.  They are; is it pleasing to God? And will it hurt me or those around me?

The Christian life is not devoid of pleasure.  If you hear a genuine Christian say, “Everything I want is either prohibited or fattening” you can be almost sure that it was said in jest.  In Psalm 16:11 we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” God gives us joy, pleasure and satisfaction in doing what is right.

We all have our likes and dislikes.  What one finds pleasure in doing is boring for someone else.  The word pleasure comes from the word “please” or “pleasing.”  We need to keep in mind that just because something gives us pleasure doesn’t make it right for us.

The following are some questions you can ask yourself to help you know if something is right for you.

  1. Does the Bible say it is wrong?
  2. Will it be detrimental to my health and well-being?
  3. Will it be detrimental to others?
  4. Will I be taking undue advantage of others?
  5. Does it demand too much of my time or money?
  6. Do I feel that it’s best that others don’t know that I do it?
  7. If I do it will I lose the respect of those who love me?
  8. Does doing it tempt me to evil thoughts?

There may be times when others will suffer because we chose to do what is right. For example, let’s suppose you were lying to cover up the truth about someone who is doing wrong.  That might even mean that you are an accomplice in a crime.  It could also be that you are receiving stolen goods.  You may have to tell him, “Look, I’m sorry but the next time I’m asked about you I will have to tell the truth, because I can’t go on telling lies.”  One of the Ten commandments is “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16).

Taking heed to what I Thessalonians  5:15, 21-22 says will be a help to you.  “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

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

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Seven Months in the Wilderness

February 10, 2016

                       Seven Months In The Wilderness

                                    By Russell George

“For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

II Corintians 8:9

            God’s grace is always sufficient, even for wilderness experiences. There were seven months in my life when I experienced an abundant measure of the grace of God.  I was not aware of it at the time.  I didn’t even know I was in the wilderness.  As I look back, after many years of Christian experience, I am amazed at the providence of God that protected and guided me during those precarious seven months.  They began after I became a child of God late in my second year as a student at the Uni. of Nebraska.  I had been exposed to the gospel for almost two years before that.  I had seen other students living a consistent Christian life.  I wasn’t ignorant of what it meant to be a follower of Christ.  I had seen it in practice in the lives of others.

New Christians need to be guided in their Christian life.  That comes by being in a good church and being counseled and encouraged by mature Christians.  I never had that.  I left the university, and nearly all Christian influence, to go back to my hometown in June of 1957.

I spent the first few weeks at home, waiting for the hay harvest to start, in hopes I could get a job on one of the local ranches.  It was during those days that I realized I needed to be in church.  There were only four churches in the entire county.  In Ericson there was a Catholic church, a Methodist church, and a Free Methodist church with a woman preacher.  In Bartlett there was a Methodist church that was served by the same pastor that served the Methodist church in Ericson.  Since I went to High School in Bartlett, I knew more people in the church in Bartlett, so I chose to go there.

During those days I was struggling with the most appropriate way of sharing my faith in Christ with my family.  I was naturally shy.  Again and again I ask myself, how can I share something so precious and intimate with loved ones who are almost certain to have a negative reaction?  At last the thought came to me; if I’m going to go to church I’ll have to use the family car.  I still didn’t have one of my own.  I decided to ask if anyone wanted to go with me if I went to church.  For several days I tried to force myself to ask that question when we were gathered at the table for a meal.  Finally Sunday morning came.  It was now or never.  Breakfast was almost over and soon everyone would get up and leave.  Finally the words were forced out of my mouth; “Would anyone like to go to church with me if I go this morning?”  I waited for an answer but, only silence!  One by one they left the table without saying a word.  I too left the table, went and changed my clothes, got the car out, and went to church.  That, to me, was one of the first manifestations of the mighty power of the grace of God.  I could easily have said, “Church really isn’t that important.”  If I had gone that route it would have changed my destiny.

After spending a month or six weeks working in the hay harvest, the rancher I was working for brought me back to Bartlett one morning.  I called home to have my father come after me.  While waiting for his arrival I visited with friends around town.  I stopped at the bank to cash the check the rancher gave me.  Bob Martin, the vice president of the bank, ask me if I was looking for a job.  Apart from working in the bank, he had an agri-business.  He had two combines and an aerial spraying business.  He had been a bomber pilot in the second world war and was well qualified to be an aerial spray pilot.  My job was to help him with the spraying business.  He rented a motel room for me where I stayed.

That was another turn of events ordered by the Lord.  I always had an interest in airplanes so I loved the job.  We often went out early in the morning to spay for grasshoppers in cornfields.  He taught me to hold up a flag every 14 rows so he could see which row to fly over.  He would fly over my head and I would walk down 14 more rows and hold up the flag again, while he went to the end of the field and turned around and came back for another pass.  I also helped mix up the insecticide and fill the belly tank on the plane.  Any spare time I had was spent washing the bugs off the windshield and the leading edges of the wings of the plane.  We operated out of farmers newly mown alfalfa fields that served as a landing strip.  I often served as “front man” for the business.  Farmers who saw the plane flying around would come and talk to me about having him spray for them.

We didn’t work on Sunday.  I went to church in the morning. Then I went home for dinner, and spent the afternoons at home.  I would go back to my motel room in the evenings.  Shortly after I started working for Bob Martin I bought my first car.  It was a 1938 Chevy.

When the spraying season was over we started operating the combines.  That too was a new and exciting experience for me.  We harvested some wheat.  Then we started on alfalfa and sweet clover seed.  After that we harvested grass seed. When the cold weather came we started on the corn.

Bartlett was a small town.  One day the latest news by the grapevine was that two Mormon missionaries had come to town to see if they could make some converts.  Someone heard that they were indignant because the Methodist pastor wouldn’t let them use the church for public meetings.  They started going door to door.

It wasn’t long before they came knocking at my motel door. I knew nothing about what the Mormon religion taught.  I had read about how they left a trail across the prairie on their way to Utah.  That left me with a lot of respect for them.  They set up their flannel graph in my room and gave me a lesson.  They ask if I had any questions.  I sure did.  I started asking questions about the Bible.  It was obvious to me that they had very little Bible knowledge.  They came one other time and gave me another lesson.  I didn’t have enough Bible knowledge to refute their teaching but something told me it wasn’t right.  I told them I wasn’t interested, but they didn’t want to take “no” for an answer.  The night I expected them to come back, I decided I was going to turn off the light and not answer the door.  Sure enough, they drove up in front and knocked on my door.  I was as still as a mouse.  I heard one of them say, “That’s strange.  His car is here but he must not be here.” Fortunately, they didn’t come back again.  Again it was the grace of God that spared me from falling into a false teaching.

I spent many of my evenings in my motel room reading my Bible and listening to Christian radio programs.  One that caught my attention was called “The Voice of China and Asia.”  The man in charge was a man by the name of Bob Hammond.  Their emphasis was on missions.  I don’t recall that they made any special appeal for Christian workers, but God used it to speak to me.  I felt God saying, “I want you.”  I argued with Him saying, “But I can’t do that.”  I hadn’t made any great success of college, and I knew I would have to go back to the classroom to be a servant of the Lord.  I kept listening to the program and God kept speaking to me.  I kept holding out.  Finally, some time in late November, I finally gave in.  I fell on my knees beside my bed.   With tears rolling down my cheeks I said, “Lord, I don’t know what I can do.  I feel so inadequate but I’m yours.  Whatever I can do, I’ll do it.”  That was one of the most important decisions in my life; a decision I have never regretted.  Several times, when speaking to youth groups, I have told them; “I can’t tell you how glad I am that I said ‘yes’ to God that night.  If I hadn’t, I would now be saying, what a fool I was.”

As I look back over those seven months, I marvel at the way the providence of God ruled and overruled.  Again and again I was at a fork in the road.  It was not within me to make the right decision.  Some times I sought God’s leading, but I’m sure there were many times when I didn’t, but the good Lord overruled and guided me.

The first of January of 1958 I packed all my earthly goods in my old 38 Chevy and went off to Omaha, Nebraska to enroll in a Bible college.  I had heard of the school through my friends at the University of Nebraska.  There I found myself in a good Christian environment.  The first evening I was there, all the students gathered in the dining hall for the evening meal.  Before the meal it was their custom to sing a chorus and someone led in prayer.  That night the chorus chosen was:

“God knows the way through the wilderness.

All I have to do is follow.

Strength for the day is mine all the way

And all that I need for tomorrow.”

 

That was a fitting climax to my seven months in the wilderness.

Comments or questions can be sent to us at the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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                 Young People Need a Reason for Living

We all need a reason for living, but it is especially important that young people have a good reason for living.  It enables them to get their life oriented so they can make the best of it.

Some young people have an inadequate reason for living.  In high school some young people live to get   attention.  This gives them a fame that is like a flame that soon burns out and they are forgotten.

A life without a reason is a life without a vision.  The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”   Young people without a noble reason for living are frustrated with life.  It has no meaning.  They are bored.

A life without a noble reason for living lacks motivation.  Young people have no desire to excel.  They don’t see that they will gain anything by it.  They ask, “What is there in it for me?”

A life without a noble reason for living doesn’t give satisfaction.  If one has no goals in life there will be few endeavors.  Without endeavors there will be few accomplishments.  Without accomplishments, there will be no satisfaction.

Young people need to see their potential.  An acorn has the potential of producing a forest.  A young person has the potential of producing an entire generation of benefactors to humanity.

The stigma of being a welfare recipient has been taken away.  As a result, young people are left with reason for thinking, “I’ll always have the option of applying for welfare benefits.” They don’t realize that that is taking something from humanity instead of contributing something to it. The welfare system is apt to collapse for lack of funds.  Young people need to be challenged to be givers, not takers. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

There are many young people, as well as adults, who live for selfish reasons.  The accumulation of wealth is their goal.   When young people give consideration to a career, their primary concern is “What pays the most?”  Their concern is not “How can I best serve those around me?” It is “How can I get rich quick?”  There is nothing wrong with making money.  It can be used to serve humanity.  Most occupations serve humanity in one way 0r another.  Life with the greatest satisfaction is that lived to serve others in some way.

Young people with no good reason for living are a burden to our schools.  They don’t want to be there.  They would prefer to stay home and play electronic games.  They have no desire to learn.  They graduate regardless of whether they have learned anything.  Then they are a burden to society.

The solution to the problem begins in the home. Parents need to instill in their children a reason for living.  A life with a noble reason for living starts with a love for God and a desire to serve him. Children also need to be taught to have moral integrity.  Without it they can easily yield to temptations that will bring them to shame and defeat.  Parents who have had the most success in instilling these values in their children are those who are genuine Christians.  They take their children to church regularly with them.  There they are taught to have a Christian world view and the proper relationship to God and those around them.

We serve God by serving others.  A life lived in service to God is a life that makes a tremendous contribution to the wellbeing of humanity.  Jesus broke the Ten Commandments down to two.  They are found in Mark 12:29-31.  “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.”

Children need to be taught to set their sails when they are young and impressionable.  They need to be taught to have a love for others and their country.  They need to be motivated to show love to the elderly and handicapped without thinking of getting anything in return.  Young man, young lady, do you have a good reason for living?  Parents, do your children have a good reason for living.  Reflect on this article.

 

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                 Living Within The Realm Of Reality

In our day it seems as though many are finding it difficult to live within the realm of reality. They want to believe that violating the laws of nature and the law of averages won’t affect them.  They yield to their carnal desires and turn a deaf ear to reality.  Their failure manifests itself in various areas of life.

Some have trouble living within their means. Their desire to have, takes precedence over their ability to pay.  Some people are at risk with a credit card.  They find it easy to swipe their card through the card reader without giving thought to the balance in their account.  They are accustomed to think, “It’s really not that serious.  If we can’t pay the balance at the end of the month we will just have to pay interest on what we owe.” The day finally comes, however, when they find themselves in a dilemma at the end of the month.  The balance in their account isn’t enough to pay all the bills.  They have to ask themselves, “What is most demanding; the mortgage on the house, the car payment, the student loan, etc.?” Then comes the day when that dreaded foreclosure letter comes in the mail.  Then they are forced to face reality.  It will be with regrets that they hadn’t faced it a long time ago.

Our political leaders are also struggling with the problem of living within the realm of reality.  They see no problem with taking our country farther and farther in debt.  The day of reckoning will inevitably come.

Some people find that it’s possible to get gain by means of deception. They may or not be pathological liars, but they are adept at it.  Some time ago one of them called me on the telephone.  He informed me that I had won $33,000 in a sweepstakes drawing.  I was convinced at first.  He promised to call back the next day with more details.  The next day he called again to say that the men responsible for delivering the money were at the airport where they had to get the money out of customs.  The customs officials wanted to charge them $300.00 and they didn’t have that much money.  He gave me an address to which I was to send a Fed Ex check in that amount.  That gave me sufficient reason to think it was a fraud, and I said “No.”

Not all liars are criminals. Some just do it in everyday life to get what they want or to disembarrass themselves.  In either case, the time comes when the truth is known.  Some, like the man who called me with the promise of money, will someday have to face reality, and perhaps spend time in prison.  Others just suffer the loss of friends and credibility.  If we commit ourselves to face reality we won’t find ourselves in situations like these.

Others disregard reality in their eating habits. Junk food is the daily diet of some people.  Yes, it requires little preparation and it sure tastes good.  The result, however, will be broken health.  Most people know that good health demands that we eat good food.  Our body may forgive us if we eat junk food once in a while, but not if it’s our daily diet.

In the same category we could include those who abuse their body with cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Those who do so realize in the end that they have paid a terrible price for the elation they experienced in the past.  Sometimes the only reason why they give into those things is to stay in step with their crowd.  Once they become addicted, they find themselves enslaved.

Reality will tell you that you can enjoy life without those things. Why risk great loss and suffering for something you can live without?  The fool says, “I won’t be addicted,” but most of them are.  Why take chances?  Reality says there is a good chance that you will pay a high price in the end.  Everywhere we find people hurting because of these things that they could have lived without.  Men have lost their jobs, their marriage, and the respect of relatives and friends.  Some have lost their health; some are invalids.  It is sad to see young people whose life has been ruined even before they come of age.  They are a testimony to the awful consequences of living outside the realm of reality.

There are numerous other ways of living outside the realm of reality, but let’s consider what it means to live within the realm of reality. The Bible tells us, in Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  It isn’t for us to debate about whether that is true or not.  You just need to accept it as true and live in the light of it.  What God says is true, whether we think so or not.  Living in the light of what God says will enable us to enjoy life.  Yes, there are times when you will have to deny yourself things the flesh  desires.  Claim the promise of Psalm 84:11.  “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  To walk uprightly is to walk within the realm of reality.

Some might say, “Christians don’t always walk in the realm of reality.” They think that to walk by faith is to walk outside the realm of reality.  That may be true to a certain extent.  Take, for example, what Jesus said in Mark 11:24.  “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  When I ask God for something, I can’t count it among my possessions until I have it.  I believe that I will have it if it is God’s will for me.  If I don’t receive it, it will be because God knows I don’t need it or I would be better off without it.  A prudent Christian doesn’t go out and buy a new car with faith that God will give him an increase in his salary so he can make the payments on it.  First he prays about it, and if God doesn’t give him peace about it, he doesn’t do it.

Those who live outside the realm of reality have chosen to believe in what they would like to believe is true, rather than what they should know to be true. To correct their problem they must change their way of thinking.  Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, M.D. has something interesting and important to say on that subject.  In his book “People of the Lie” he says, “All adults who are mentally healthy submit themselves one way or another to something higher than themselves, be it God or truth or love of some other ideal.  They do what God wants them to do rather than what they would desire.  The God submitted person says ‘Thy will, not mine, be done.’ They believe in what is true rather than what they would like to be true.”

There are two main reasons why people today find it difficult to live within the realm of reality.  One is their ignorance of history.  Young people are graduating from high school and college with a pathetic ignorance of history.  They either aren’t taught history, or if they are, it is a perverted interpretation of it.  We should learn from history.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”  If others have tried something, and it didn’t turn out well for them, then you better think that it isn’t wise for you to do it.

Another reason why people live outside the realm of reality is because our culture has hindered them from thinking rationally.  They are told that moral laws are relative.  That gives them liberty to reject biblical morality.  Whatever is accepted by the majority is deemed proper behavior.  That leaves people feeling free to co-habit, commit adultery if there is mutual consent, and tell people, “You have a right to_______.” Fill in the blank.  They tell us that Christians are too judgmental.  They call us puritanical.  All the while they refuse to face the reality of the tragic consequences that result from improper behavior.

We are more inclined to live within the realm of reality if we look around us at all the hurting people and ask ourselves, “What is causing them to hurt?” When we find the cause of their dilemma, we do well to say, “That’s not right for me.” Some are hurting when it’s no fault of their own. For example, many are hurting because of the improper behavior of others around them.  Some are hurting because of a tragedy they couldn’t have avoided, or because of health problems that they didn’t knowingly bring upon themselves.  Even so, life is at its best when it is lived within the realm of reality.  Stay within the limits, and encourage others to do the same.

The following biblical exhortation from Psalm 37:1-5 will help you live within the realm of reality. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.   For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.    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.    Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

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

 

 

 

 

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Christianity Is Relevant II

November 17, 2015

                     Christianity Is Relevant II

Yes, Christianity is relevant, but not just any kind of Christianity.  There is much that goes under the name of Christianity, but it is Christianity in name only.  It is a Christianity that doesn’t have the power to transform lives.  It is an empty ritualistic religion that leaves people feeling good about themselves.  It is made up of people who make their appearance in church on Sunday morning.  They put a pittance in the offering plate and think they have completed with their obligation to God.  That kind of Christianity justifies some who say “Christianity isn’t relevant.”

There are still those who practice what is called genuine Christianity.  They may be ridiculed by others who call themselves Christians.  They are called fundamentalists, puritanical, or extremists.  They are Christians who take seriously their relationship with God.   Genuine Christians get their feeling of self-worth from what God has done for them  At the same time, they are grieved by the fact that they fall short of being all that God has a right to expect of them.  Most of them set aside time each day to pray, read the Bible, and seek God’s will for their lives.  They are members of churches where the Bible is still clearly preached and where they meet regularly for corporate prayer.

Genuine biblical Christianity exhorts people to live “soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”(Titus 2:12).  It motivates people to be concerned about the well-being of the people around them.  That concern is not just for their material needs.  They are also concerned about their spiritual needs.  They too have struggled with temptation and know the destructive power of sin.  James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  That motivates true Christians to talk to their neighbors and friends about the transforming power of Christ who can give people victory over sin and fulfilment in life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” If you have found life in abundance you just naturally want to tell others about it.

Those who are living a consistent Christian life can testify to the fact that they are enjoying the following:

Peace:  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Joy:  “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

Hope:  “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;   And patience, experience; and experience, hope:   And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Comfort:  “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;   Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (II Corinthians 1:3-4).

Love: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (I Peter 1:22).  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” (Ephesians 2:4).

Power to resist and overcome sin:  “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” (II Peter 1:3).

Those who are enjoying these things will not be convinced that Christianity isn’t relative.

Those who say “Christianity isn’t relative” may mean that it isn’t relevant to our culture.  If so, they are right.  Christianity has never been relevant to the culture.  The first century church prospered in spite of the fact that the prevailing culture demanded that the emperor be worshiped.  Christianity doesn’t teach us to conform to the culture in which we live.  To the contrary, consistent Christian living often demands that we cast off cultural practices that aren’t consistent with godliness.  The first missionaries who arrived in India had to confront the cultural practice that demanded that when a man died his body should be burnt on a funeral pyre and that his wife be burnt alive with his body.

Biblical Christians submit themselves to the law of God.  That, in no way, makes them a menace to society.  To the contrary, they contribute to a peaceful and prosperous society.  They are given discernment to see that the ideologies of men often bring societies to ruin.  There was a time when Christians in Rome had to live in the catacombs, because the society around them was so wicked that they couldn’t live the Christian life in public.

Our society is becoming increasing more permissive as to immoral behavior.  People everywhere are suffering because of addictions, infidelity and indolence.

If you say “Christianity isn’t relevant,” you might be right if by that you mean that it isn’t relative to the culture.  It never has been and never will be.  You might also be right if you are talking about a watered down, decrepit version of Christianity that asks almost nothing of its followers and contributes little or nothing to society.  You are wrong, however, if you are talking about genuine Christianity.  I encourage you to make it your version of Christianity.  Seek out a church that encourages you to live the Christian life the way it was meant to be lived, and that makes a concerted effort to share the gospel with those in the community.  If you do, you will have much to gain, and nothing to lose. 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     How Can We Know Which Religion Has The Truth?

          Among so many religions, how can we know which one has the truth? This is a question many ask, and for good reason. It can’t be that they all have the truth because they aren’t in agreement. Some people, without giving it much thought, just say “They are all good.” It could be that they all do some good, but that is not proof that they have the truth. Some may not outwardly promote or approve of immorality, but they don’t say anything against it either.

Some religious groups make the claim that they are the only ones who have the truth. By so doing, they say that all others are in error. Some base their authenticity on their antiquity. Others make no attempt to prove that they have the truth. They just make the claim and expect everyone to accept it without question.

In order to know which religion has the truth we would need to have a criterion for determining what truth is. If a religion claims to be a Christian religion, then we should have the right to go to the Bible to see if what they teach is in harmony with the Bible. Some may ask, “But how can we know if the Bible is true?” In a short article like this one it would be impossible to present all the evidence that the Bible is divine revelation. It should be enough to know that those who live according to the dictates of the Bible find peace and reason for living, and aren’t a menace to those around them. If we accept the Bible as divine authority, then we should judge all religions by it.

Be careful of groups that claim to be the only true religion. They may quote verses from the Bible in their defense. They may twist the meaning of Scripture. Sometimes it is what they don’t say that proves them wrong. We need to interpret the Bible in the light of what the entire Bible says, and not just some verses. For example, it is possible to take some verses from the Bible and teach that salvation is by means of good works. There are other verses in the Bible that contradict that teaching.

How then can we know which religion has the truth? It is by means of reading the Bible. In Isaiah 8:20 we read “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” We can know, but it takes some effort on our part. As long as we are ignorant of what the Bible says we will never know which religion has the truth. When we read the Bible we need to keep in mind that the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament. The Old Testament was written for the Jews. Christ fulfilled the demands of the law regarding a sacrifice for sins. What the Old Testament says about moral principles hasn’t changed.

The truth is that there is no religious group that can honestly say they are correct on everything. By reading the Bible we can see which group is closest to the truth. There is considerable disagreement about some teachings in the Bible. They are not major teachings. Often they are interpretations about prophecy. Christians often agree to disagree on some matters. If a religious group professes to have all the truth they should be rejected because they are making a claim that can’t be proven. The ones who are most to be trusted are those who say, “As best we can, we follow the Bible, but we confess that we may be mistaken about some things.”

The truth is that your major concern need not be that of finding the religion that has the truth. Your greatest need is that of having the proper relationship with God. The Bible is sufficiently clear on that matter. We read that Christ gave his life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He died to deliver us from the condemnation we are under because of our sins. John 3:18 says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” When we come to God, repentant of our sins, and ask him for forgiveness, he applies the sacrifice of Christ to our account. Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” God promises eternal life to those who are his. I John 5:11 says, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

What you need to do therefore, is to look for a church that clearly teaches and preaches the salvation message. It is abundantly clear in the Bible, but there are religions that preach that salvation is through the church or by human merit. Churches that teach that salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) nearly always help people to grow in grace and knowledge as it says in II Peter 3:18. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

It will be a futile attempt if you try to find the religion that has all the truth because there is none. It is important to find a good church, but there are no perfect churches because churches are composed of people. There are no perfect people this side of heaven. The best churches are those that are composed mostly of people who have the right relationship with God and who are striving to have a better relationship with him. May God help you to be one of them.

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

 

 

 

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