Right Thinking About Thinking Right

Philosophy says, “Think your way out.” How can you do that, if you don’t know how to think? Many would be quick to say, “Oh, I know how to think.” However, seeing the foolish decisions they make indicates that they don’t know how to think right very well. This article was written to help you know how to think right.

Decisions, decisions; life is full of decisions. How we make those decisions determines our success or failure in life. If we think right, we will make wise decisions. We need wisdom to make wise decisions. Wisdom is the intelligent application of knowledge. If we are lacking in knowledge, we won’t have much wisdom.

We need to keep acquiring knowledge. There is always more to learn. Our first knowledge is acquired from our parents. Fortunate is the child whose parents do a good job of teaching him or her knowledge. Most parents at least teach their children how to walk, talk, and dress themselves. We have reason to hope that they also teach them to obey, and be kind to their siblings. If a child’s parents are lacking in wisdom, they won’t teach much wisdom to their children.

The next advance in knowledge comes from going to school. Fortunate is the child who is a good student. It is hoped that their parents have explained to them why they need to go to school. They should also ask them what they learned in school and praise them for it. If they do, their children will have a desire to learn. Growing in knowledge gives us self-esteem.

It is unfortunate that many public schools aren’t teaching children how to think. They are just telling them what to think and what they are telling them isn’t always right. They are being indoctrinated into ideologies that aren’t good for our country. If children don’t know how to think they won’t know how to evaluate what they are being told. Parents, if that is what is happening with your children, you need to pull them out of the school and look for one that will teach them right. Another alternative is home schooling. (See articles on “Home Schooling under Christian Home.)

Wise decisions are made if they are based on what we know. If a child is punished because he came in the house with muddy shoes and walked on the carpet, he will know that he better not do that again. We learn by experience.

Parents and educators need to be motivators. (See article “Be a Motivator” under Christian Life.) Children need to be motivated. If not, school is boring to them. They won’t listen to what they are being told. All our life we should keep growing in knowledge. II Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” In that verse it says we should grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is important, but we should also grow in the knowledge of other things.

We can’t think right unless our thinking is based on the truth. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Knowing the truth delivers us from the predicaments we get ourselves into by making foolish decisions. It is heart breaking to see so many young people taking habit forming drugs. Don’t they know what the result of that will be? Where is their reasoning power? Where is there self discipline? Christians accept the Bible as the truth. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Thousands of years ago God gave us his moral laws. They are the Ten Commandments. They are found in Exodus chapter 20. These aren’t the only commandments God has given to us. In Mark 12:29-31 Jesus summed up the contents of the Ten Commandments. He said “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.”

A democracy cannot survive and thrive unless the majority of the people know how to think right. They must be men and women of integrity who will obey the laws and be gainfully employed. They must have wisdom to know what is right and best for them, their family, and their country. They must vote for leaders who are committed to upholding the constitution and protecting the rights of the people.

Fortunate are they who know, respect, and obey the moral laws of God. Many elderly saints can testify to the truth of the words found in Psalm 37:25. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” It just makes good sense to respect and obey the laws of God.

Right thinking is to think the way God says we should. He is no fool who submits to the will of God. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us that those who do will prosper. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

You need to know how to make your own decisions. You need to know how to think for yourself. You can do that if you make your decisions on that which is right. For all of us, there are times when we need to seek counsel about decisions we need to make. Don’t go to a professional counselor. Seek out someone you know and trust. They should be someone who can give you advice from a biblical standpoint.

(See also the following articles “The Thinker and the Tinker” under Young People and “Right Thinking” under Various Themes.)

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Right Thinking About Gun Control

By Russell George

First of all, we need to say something about right thinking. Unfortunately, many of our public schools aren’t teaching children and young people how to think. They are just telling them what to think; and what they are telling them isn’t always right. If we think right we will weigh the pros and cons of an issue. Many people are in serious trouble. If they would have weighed the pros and cons, they wouldn’t have done what they did that got them in trouble. There is much that we can learn from history. History teaches us what worked or didn’t work for our ancestors. Unfortunately, history isn’t being taught in our public schools. If it is taught, it is a distorted view of history.

Those who think right don’t need to be told what to think. They are capable of discovering for themselves what they should think. People who don’t think for themselves can easily be manipulated. Adolph Hitler told the Germans that the German race was superior to all other races. That appealed to their pride and they believed him. It led to World War II.

Gun control usually means that the federal government should take all guns out of the hands of civilians. It could better be called “gun confiscation,” but that would turn many people off because it is too threatening. Before we submit to gun confiscation, we need to ask ourselves if that is the right approach to stopping gun violence. If we take away all the guns from American citizens, will that mean that there will be no more killings? It is interesting to note that in Deuteronomy 5:17 it says “Thou shalt not kill.” Why was that prohibition needed? There were no guns when that was written. Any thinking person should realize that if we take away the guns, people will resort to knives, clubs, glass bottles or whatever they find.

Every year thousands of people are killed because of drunk drivers. Wouldn’t it be wise therefore to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages? Those who have knowledge of history would say, “That has been tried and it didn’t work.” They would be right. What reason do you have then to think that confiscating all the guns would work?

Any right thinking person should realize that guns don’t kill people. The problem is with people, not with guns. If someone is thinking about using a gun to kill people, we need to help him or her realize that they aren’t thinking right. It might be advisable to take away their gun or guns. The better solution would be to change their way of thinking. That might be possible if one or more would sit down with them and lovingly explain to them that that isn’t the right way to think. If we were to do that we would be completing one of our duties to society.

We also should speak out against that which puts violent thoughts in the minds of young people. Many movies glorify gun violence. The objective in many electronic games is to be the one who kills the greatest number of people. That can’t help but have a bad influence on the minds of young people. Caring parents shouldn’t allow their children to play those games or watch those movies. If we don’t speak out against such things we must share a part of the blame for gun violence.

Guns serve a useful purpose. It isn’t right to deprive everyone of owning and using a gun just because a few people misuse them. God never says that we shouldn’t have the right to carry weapons of self-defense. In Ephesians 6:12-17 we read about the armor that God has given us so we can defend ourselves from spiritual wickedness. If he gives us those weapons, it is only logical to believe that he would permit us to have weapons to protect us when we are attacked by human beings.

Many use their guns to go hunting. Some kill a deer every year to fill their freezer with a supply of meat. They may also kill a few turkeys to add to their meat supply.

What should be the solution for stopping gun violence? Every time someone kills one or more people it should be obvious to us that that person wasn’t thinking right. It wasn’t just because he or she happened to have a gun in their hand and people got killed by it. No, the act began because of faulty thinking in the mind of the one who did it.

The solution is to change the thinking of people who commit crimes. There is no better way to do that than to return to the acceptance of Judeo/Christian moral values. Christianity teaches us that human life is sacred and that we should love people. The great love chapter in the Bible (I Corinthians 13:1-13) says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Mark 12:30-31 tells us that love needs to begin with our love for God. “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.” If we love God we want to please him. That keeps us from doing things he tells us not to do. In the Bible we learn that we can have the right relationship with God by confessing to God that we are sinners and asking him to forgive us on the basis of the sacrifice that 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.”

God fearing, God loving Christians aren’t a threat to the safety and well-being of others. If they are a threat, they are liars and do not the truth. Those who live the way God says we should are never a threat to others. To the contrary, they are a blessing. Don’t you want to live that way? Will you encourage others to live that way?

What do you think? Please send your comments to rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Righteous Indignation

January 12, 2018

Righteous Indignation

What is righteous indignation? The fact that it is righteous indicates that it is justified. Indignation is a strong feeling of disapproval or disgust about something that has been done or is being done.

I began thinking on this subject as a result of reading the book “Five English Reformers” by J. C. Ryle. The book relates the account of how five great servants of God chose to be burned at the stake rather than deny their faith in Christ. It happened at a time when a woman by the name of Bloody Mary was queen of England. She wanted to make Catholicism the official and only religion in England. In her attempt to accomplish that, she made it a crime to preach or practice Biblical Christianity. To my knowledge, the Catholic church has never made Bloody Mary a saint. Most likely she is an embarrassment to them.

As I red that book, I felt a growing indignation towards Blood Mary and those who were willing to do her bidding. I thought “There is no way anyone could have righteous indignation toward those Godly men who were preaching and practicing Biblical Christianity.” There was, however, much reason for having righteous indignation against Bloody Mary.

We may have indignation, but is it righteous? Is it justified? How can we know if it is righteous and justified? What standard do you use to discern between right and wrong? It is unfortunate that, in this day of relativism and situational ethics, many have no fixed standards of right and wrong. For them, what is right in one situation may be wrong in another situation. They are willing to concede that what is right for them may be wrong for someone else. That way of thinking leaves moral standards in a state of fluctuation. What causes some to have indignation may have the opposite effect on others. Indignation may motivate a terrorist to go out and kill people. I would call it righteous indignation that motivates others to condemn him for it.

We need moral standards that are fixed. Christians accept the standards that are set down in the Bible. Titus 2:14 says “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” The word “peculiar” means something that is above and beyond the ordinary. God’s standards of right and wrong don’t change. What was right and wrong in the Old Testament is reiterated again in the New Testament. For indignation to be righteous it must conform to the standards set down in God’s Word.

Here are two examples of righteous indignation. It is justified when politicians use deceit to win an election, but as soon as they get in office they show their true colors. Exodus 20:16 says “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” It is also justified when there is one standard for elite politicians and another for common people. Deuteronomy 16:18-19 says “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.”

Having righteous indignation shouldn’t prompt us to go on the war path. The words are used to express the way we feel about something. You can, and perhaps should, express your feelings to others. It may influence them to think right.

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Let’s Go Back To The Old Paths and The Good Way

Jeremiah 6:16 says “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Our forefathers carved a nation out of a wilderness. How did they do it? It was a nation where peace and prosperity reigned. Their success can largely be attributed to the fact that they had a superior quality of people with which to work. Back then there were some horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and bank robbers, but the great majority were hard working, law abiding citizens. Children were taught to work along side of their parents in housekeeping and providing for the necessities of life. Most lived in an agricultural setting where there was always work that children could do.

Children were taught to respect and obey their parents. Corporal discipline was freely practiced. They received an education superior to what children are receiving today. Part of the explanation for that is since their parents taught them to respect authority the teachers were able to maintain order in the classroom. Another reason is that they were taught the facts of history, not a perverted version like they are often taught today.

Most of our forefathers were believers in God. They respected God and his divine laws that are laid down in the Bible. Many of the framers of our constitution were puritans or sons of the puritans. They took into consideration the sin nature of man and made laws to govern a people with that nature. Countless others were the converts of great evangelists like George Whitefield, Billy Sunday and John Wesley. Thousands would stand in an open field for an hour or more to hear George Whitefield preach

Between 1850 and 1950 Christians sacrificed to build churches all across the country. They were well attended. Many young people enrolled in Bible colleges and seminaries where they were trained to serve God.

Back in those days social problems weren’t nearly as rampant as they are today. Happy families were the norm. There were few single parent homes. Children were brought up in a loving family. They learned to love and care for one another.

There was still a need for jails and prisons back then, but a much lower percentage of the American people were incarcerated. There were still alcoholics, but not nearly as many as there are today. Young people weren’t tempted with addictive drugs. The young people spent their free time socializing and playing games with other young people. They didn’t have electronic games, television, and the social media to occupy their time. The minds of people weren’t polluted by pornography.

It is pathetic that so few today aren’t alarmed about the serious social problems we are facing. They are like the people in Jeremiah’s day who said, “We will not walk therein.” It appears as though most people like to think, “That’s just the way life is.” By circulating articles like this one we need to inform people that they could be enjoying a more rewarding and satisfying life. There is nothing to keep us from going back to the good life that our forefathers enjoyed.

Taking our country back to the old paths and the good way needs to start with people like you. You need to be in the right relationship with God. If you are, then you need to be helping others enter into that relationship. It starts when people confess to God that they are sinners and accept God’s offer of forgiveness and righteousness that Christ made possible when he died on the cross. Romans 5:8-11 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. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” People need to be in church where they sit under the teaching and preaching of God’s word. They need to be members of a good church where they can serve God along with other believers.

Parents also have an important part in taking our country back to the old paths and the good way. They need to discipline their children and teach them to respect them, even if they risk the wrath of civil authorities. Proverbs 23:13-14 says “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

Our nation is headed for ruin. For the sake of our future, and the future of our children, we need to get things turned around. Will you do your part? Plead with others to see the need and do their part. It isn’t too late yet, but the day of no return may be fast approaching.

The good life is enjoyed by those who live the way God says we should. They don’t experience the trauma of imprisonment, unless it be in the form of persecution. They don’t suffer the heartbreak that comes because of separation and divorce. They don’ t ruin their health and die young because of addictions. Let’s go back to the old paths and the good way.

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Bridge Builders

November 12, 2017

Bridge Builders

When hurricane Harvey devastated some of the coastal cities along the southeastern coast of Texas it was said that there were no Democrats or Republicans, no whites, blacks or Mexicans. They were all united as one in helping one another. It is unfortunate that it took a hurricane to unite people. Hurricane Harvey served as a bridge.

Matthew 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” We need more peacemakers. God says they are blessed and will be blessed. They are a blessing to those around them. It has been said “United we stand: divided we fall.”

What has more merit and is more virtuous, being a peacemaker or a troublemaker? Why be a troublemaker when you can be a peacemaker? Why be a divider when you can be a unite r? Be honest with yourself. If you have any self respect and love for your country and those around you, you will want to be a peacemaker.

don’t be intimidated if someone accuses you of being a hater just because you don’t agree with them. That is happening frequently in our day. It is a means of silencing those who speak out against an immoral life style or a false ideology. If someone accuses you of being a hater, I hope you can honestly assure them that you don’t have anyone. You might kindly say to them, “I’m sorry but I don’t hate you because you can’t agree with me.”

We need to be bridge builders to make possible a free intercourse between racial and people groups. We do it by love. We need to reach out to them and assure them that we love and respect them as a person. We may not agree with them on everything. To be honest, there probably isn’t anyone that you agree with 100%. Even husbands and wives don’t agree on everything, but that doesn’t stop them from loving one another.

We need to use wisdom with regard to those whom we allow to have a place in the inner circle of those we call our friends. Proverbs 13:20 says “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Again I Corinthians 15:33 says “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The word “communications” could be better translated “companions.” We don’t hate all those who are not included in the inner circle of our friends.

The word “hate” has a place in our vocabulary, but not in the way it is often being used today. Other words that are frequently used to intimidate people are “white racist”. “white supremacist,” “homphobe” and “islamaphobe.”

Those who seek to intimidate people with these labels are not building bridges. To the contrary, they are tearing them down. They are dividing instead of uniting.

We need to seek ways and means of reaching out to other people groups and show them that they have no reason to think that we hate them. They may think that we are trying to win them to our way of thinking. You may be snubbed and rejected for building a bridge, but don’t let that discourage you. It is alright to seek to win them to your way of thinking, but you will have to build a bridge to them before you can do that.

If you are of the opinion that your race makes you superior to those of a different race you are dead wrong. We are all human beings. To despise those of other nations is to find fault with God’s creation. Acts 17:26 says that God “made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” We are all made of the same stuff. If you think you are superior to others you need to read and meditate on Malachi 2:10. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”

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Common Sense

July 25, 2017

Common Sense

Fortunate is the one who is gifted with common sense. There is no good reason why everyone can’t be gifted with common sense. Unfortunately many in our day have been indoctrinated to accept ideologies that rob them of common sense.

It should be obvious to us that there is a right and wrong way to think. Proverbs 16:25 says “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Obviously if you aren’t thinking right you won’t get the results you hope for. Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

God, our Creator, hasn’t left us in the dark in regard to how we should think. In two ways he has revealed to us the right way to think. Every human being has a conscience that helps him discern between right and wrong. He knows it is wrong to steal because he has suffered the loss of things others have stolen from him. He knows it is wrong to tell a lie. Our conscience works by means of our feelings and perceptions. Unfortunately, the conscience of many has been seared as it says in

I Timothy 4:2. “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” I Corinthians 8:7 also tells us that it is possible to have a conscience that is weak and defiled. These verses speak of eating meat that has been sacrificed to an idol. It says “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” That is what happens when we don’t obey our conscience.

A second way in which God has revealed right and wrong to us is by means of his Word. After God made Adam, the first man, he told him what to do and what not to do. Genesis 1:28 says “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” In Genesis 2:16-17 God told Adam and Eve what they were not to do. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Later, in Deuteronomy 6:24-25, we read that God gave men statutes and commandments. “And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.” Notice that it says “for our good always.” God’s prohibitions are always for our good. In chapter 20 of Exodus God gave men the ten commandments.

Down through the centuries common sense is what men have called the commandments that God has given us. They are laws that enable us to live in a happy, harmonious relationship with others. They are laws that enable us to enjoy that which is best for us and for the good of others. The more closely we obey God’s laws the more we will be deserving of the love and respect of those around us.

Society suffers because of a lack of common sense on the part of others. Our prisons and jails are over crowded. Do criminals us common sense? Many find themselves with debts they can’t pay. Have they used common sense in their economic decisions? Many young people drop out of high school and are poorly educated. Have they used common sense? The teen age pregnancy rate keeps increasing. Are our teen age girls using common sense? All these are an indication of a lack of common sense.

The lack of common sense in our society is not always because of negligence. Unfortunately our schools are failing to use common sense in teaching our children. Many high school graduates have little to show for having been in school for 12 years. They are very limited in their ability to read and write because they weren’t taught phonics. They have little respect for the founders of our great country because the history books they were taught from have painted them in a bad light. Even many college graduates have little to offer the job market because they haven’t been taught how to think.

Most of the ideologies being taught today are not at all in agreement with common sense. There are those who tell us that whether something is right or wrong depends on the situation. It is called “situation ethics.” That leaves us free to decide whether something is right or wrong. No, wrong is wrong and right is right no mater what the situation is.

Another ideology is called relativism. It says that moral laws change over time. They think that moral laws need to change as cultures change. No, what was morally wrong for our grandparents is still wrong for us. Then there is humanism. It teaches us that men are capable of solving all their social problems without the help of God. If so, why aren’t they doing it?

Most of these ideologies leave God out. Without God, there are no moral absolutes. Men want to disregard God and make their own moral laws. In Romans 1:31-32 God tells us that there are those who are “Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Common sense tells us that there is a right way and a wrong way. Common sense tells us that we should take heed to what the Bible tells us in Psalm 37:3-5. “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.” It is a lack of common sense to change laws and customs that have served us well for centuries. Don’t depart from the old ways. They are better.

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Relationships

May 23, 2017

Relationships

The majority of problems in our society stem from problems in relationships. Criminals have a problem in their relationship with society. Marriage problems stem from a poor relationship between the spouses. Problems in school result from a poor relationship between classmates or the teacher/teachers. Problems in the work place are caused by a bad relationship between employees and other employees or their employer.

A friend is one with whom we have a good relationship. Fortunate and happy are those who have many friends. Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” We need friends like that. Proverbs 18:24 says that it is possible to have friends who stick closer to us than a brother. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” To have that kind of friends we must do our part. We too must love our friends at all times. We must show ourselves friendly. That means we must have the right relationship.

We greatly benefit from knowing how to build and maintain relationships. Relationships are built and maintained by qualities of character. Bad character traits tend to break down and destroy relationships. For example, if we know that someone is dishonest we distrust him because we never know when we too may be hurt by his lying tongue. If someone easily looses his temper we never know when he may pour out his wrath upon us.

Having good relationships begins with having the right relationship with God. That begins when we confess to God from our heart that we are sinners and ask him to forgive us and make us one of his children. Christ died on the cross in our place and we need to receive him as our Savior. That is a prayer he always hears and answers. He accepts us as we are, but then he begins his mighty work in us to make us what we aught to be. He begins what Philippians 1:6 calls “a good work in us.” In Ephesians 4:22-24 the believer is exhorted to “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 has a solution for problems we have in relationships. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” It is the will of God that his people produce the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The more of these character traits we have the better will be our relationships. They will weed out the bad traits mentioned in Galatians 5:25. “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

It is impossible to have good relationships if we don’t have good moral values. When people leave God out of their lives their moral values suffer. God gives us moral values that guide us in our relationships. In the Old Testament God’s people had the ten commandments. If we would only abide by them we would have far less problems with relationships. Jesus gave us what is often called “the golden rule.” It 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.” The application of that rule would transform the relationships of many.

It is past time that we get alarmed about the deterioration of our society. Does it bother you? Few get alarmed about unruly thugs who form gangs and go out to the street in protest of some trumped up cause. They break store windows and set fire to cars. As long as it doesn’t happen in their neighborhood, most people think little about it.

What can we do to get things turned around in our country? What can we do to promote better relationships among people? Personally, we can surrender our lives to God and give him liberty to makes changes in us that need to be made. Romans 12:1-2 says “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. 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.”

There needs to be a great awakening in our country. People need to be alarmed about the way our culture and society is deteriorating. We can’t get people into classrooms and teach them how to think. It has to be done on a one to one basis. You and I can have a part in it if we change some and they change some, and it goes on and on. Use your influence any way you can to help others see the need of having good relationships with others. If you have children and grandchildren, start with them. Perhaps there are school mates, work mates and others with whom you have contact. God can use you if you have the right relationship with him.

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Initiative – Do You Have It?

Initiative is what common people call “get up and go.” It is an introductory act or step leading to action. The word initiative doesn’t appear in the Bible, but much of what it says gives us reason to believe that it is something God expects us to have. The word “diligence” appears a number of times in the Bible and it has a meaning similar to the word initiative. Proverbs 10:4 says “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Also Proverbs 12:24 says “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. Again in Proverbs13:4 we read “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”

To be without initiative is to be slothful. That word appears in one of the verses above. Slothfulness means to be lazy. The lazy person just does what he finds enjoyment in doing. Proverbs 12:27 says “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Without initiative we won’t make any accomplishments in life. We will just do what is our obligation to do and stop there. The one who has initiative gets things done. He doesn’t wait for someone else to do it. He takes responsibility.

Children need to be taught to have initiative. We need to have goals in life. There needs to be a desire to achieve. Sometimes we need to suggest goals for children. For example, give a child a sheet of paper and a pencil and ask him to draw a picture of a leaf or a snow man. His drawing may be crude, but praise him anyhow. As a result he may set goals for himself to draw something. Children need to have goals in school. If they don’t get a good education it will be difficult for them to achieve. The result will be that they will have a low self esteem. That will discourage people from having initiative. They will think, “I can’t do it so I may as well not try.”

People with initiative are the makers and shakers in society. They get things done and they encourage others to get things done. They are people we look up to because of their achievements. Every house you see as you drive down the road is there because someone had the initiative to build a house there. Every book you see in a library is there because someone had the initiative to write a book.

People without initiative are a burden to our society. Most of the people on welfare are there because they don’t have the initiative to go out and look for work, or maybe they are looking for a job but can’t find one because they don’t meet the qualifications. They don’t meet the qualifications because they didn’t have the initiative to study and get an education.

It is unfortunate that there are people groups in our society who are lacking in initiative. Sometimes employers are accused of discriminating against them because they don’t give them a job. The problem, however, is that they don’t meet the qualifications for the jobs that are available. Colleges are accused of discriminating against them because they aren’t accepted as students. The problem is that they can’t pass the entrance exams. They don’t have the initiative to study and prepare themselves to contribute something to society. Now they are left in poverty. We are supposed to feel sorry for them, but it is largely their own fault that they are poor.

Don’t expect society to take care of you if you didn’t have the initiative to prepare yourself to have something to offer to the job market. If you don’t have initiative to work the Bible tells us that you have no one to blame but yourself if you are hungry. II Thessalonians 3:10 says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

It was a mistake on the part of our government when they started the welfare program. It encourages slothfulness because people feel they have a right to what are called “entitlements.” Few people died of starvation before the welfare program was put in place. People worked to meet their needs. If they couldn’t work they were at the mercy of society. It is our duty to care for the handicapped. God has promised to bless the merciful. Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” In Acts 20:35 we are told to labor to support the weak. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Do you have initiative? If you don’t, you need it. If you don’t have it, ask God to forgive you and help you to have it. Apply yourself. Don’t wait or expect others to do for you what you should do for yourself. If you are handicapped and can’t work and meet your needs it’s alright to receive help from society. If others are meeting your needs you owe a debt of gratitude to them.

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Danger – Big Trouble Ahead

February 12, 2017

Young man, if you are tempted to go to a pornographic web site, or if you are already dabbling in pornography, I would like to put a big sign before your eyes that says “Danger, Big Trouble Ahead. If you refuse to take heed to the warning, you do so at your own risk.

Just because the word “pornography” isn’t in the Bible doesn’t mean it isn’t sin. It is included in what the Bible calls “lust.” The word lust appears a number of times in the Bible. II Peter 1:4 tells us we need to escape from it. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” The sex act in marriage isn’t lust. It is an intimate experience that gives mutual satisfaction. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

It is sad that many young men are addicted to pornography even before they have thought about marriage. If you are addicted to pornography it’s best that you don’t marry because if you do you will break some young woman’s heart. If you have found an artificial way to satisfy your sexual desires you won’t be totally dependent on your wife to satisfy your desires.

Without realizing it, many girls and young women cheapen themselves by their immodest dress. I Timothy 2:9 tells us that women should dress modestly. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” There is good reason for that. The sight of a woman’s legs excites and arouses a man, but if he sees it every day in public, and also in the way his wife dresses, it loses its attraction.

An important element in marriage is left out, or neglected, if men find another means of satisfying their sexual desires. A wife feels inadequate if she knows that her husband is looking at pornography on his computer. That has its effect on the marriage relationship. If her husband keeps it a secret from her that he is watching pornography he is robbing something from her. He isn’t giving her all the attention he should because he is getting some of his satisfaction from pornography. If a man’s sexual desires can be aroused and satisfied by artificial means it only stands to reason that his wife won’t have the infinite value to him that she would have if she was his one and only.

If a man spends an hour before he goes to bed at night on a pornographic web site it’s obvious that his wife won’t have the attraction the she should have. The danger in pornography is that it puts a man’s marriage in jeopardy. If his marriage is in jeopardy, the same is true of his family. He may find himself in a number of broken or strained relationships. That spells heart break, shame and loneliness. That is where the danger and big trouble is.

Modern man finds himself with temptations and dangers that his ancestors just 200 years ago never imagined. Pornography is made possible by modern technology. First came the printing press. At first printing presses just printed in black and white. That made it possible to print what we call “dirty books.” Their temptation was minimal compared to modern printing that brings real life color to the printed page. Now we also have DVD’s and the Internet which are an even greater threat.

How can we escape what Peter calls “the corruption that is in the world by lust?” We can pray that God will send a revival that will change the moral values of people. We can make our voices heard in our disapproval of pornography. We can, with God’s help say no to the lusts of the flesh. Our text in II Peter 1:4 tells us that we can escape it by claiming the promises of God.

If it will add anything to the authority of this article, let me add in closing that this article was written by a man who has enjoyed over 50 years of happy marriage. He has never looked at pornography. Why put your marriage and your future at risk for something you don’t need? Every time you are tempted by pornography may the big sign appear again before your eyes that says Danger – Big trouble Ahead.

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The Merits of Wisdom

November 9, 2016

The Merits of Wisdom

How many times have you seen a squirrel fall out of a tree? Have you ever seen a bird get disorientated and crash head long into a tree and fall to the ground? If God gave the animals the wisdom to navigate without frequent mishaps, why is it that human beings so often fall into disgrace? Is it due to a lack of wisdom? If so, is it that God hasn’t given them sufficient wisdom?

Many mistakenly think that wisdom is acquired by means of education. Educated people often think they are superior to others and that they can do no wrong. Our observation, however, doesn’t bear that out. Some of our ivy league colleges could be called cesspools of iniquity. Those who study there often fall into failure and disgrace even before they graduate. Most of our leaders don’t lack for education, but some have made some serious mistakes. Even spiritual leaders sometimes fall into sin because that have made unwise decisions.

Wisdom helps us make the right decisions. It helps us make good use of our resources like time and money. The man who has wisdom has sense enough to avoid that which is detrimental to health, wealth, and happiness. Wisdom helps us in the pursuit of three things that are of great value in life. They are prosperity, pleasure, and peace.

Prosperity is augmented by two requirements. The first is our ability to make money. When it is time for young people to enter the work force it is essential that they have skill and ability that is needed. They will have them if they have made good use of the opportunities they have had to advance their education. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Wisdom plays an important part in a young person’s preparation for adulthood.

Another requirement for prosperity is that we use wisdom in the way we spend our money. Just as an example, there is wisdom in shopping at yard sales. You won’t find everything you need in life at yard sales, but there are often useful articles there that you can buy for a fraction of what you would pay at a retail store.

We also need wisdom in controlling our craving for pleasure. If not, it’s easy to waste time and money that could be better spent for more beneficial things. Proverbs 21:17 says “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man.” That, of course, is an in-ardent love of pleasure. There is a place for pleasure, but it must be kept in its place. Tho old saying is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Wisdom doesn’t restrict pleasure from us. Actually, it enhances it. It enables us to find pleasure in that which is to our benefit. It enables us to find more pleasure in giving than in getting. It enables us to find more pleasure in serving than in being served.

Wisdom also increases our peace. Proverbs 3:13 says “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” Then in verse 17 it says “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Sometimes we have enemies when it isn’t our fault, but we don’t make enemies when we walk in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:25 says “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” He is no fool who lets God guide him in the way he should take. Proverbs 3:21-23 says “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”

I trust this is enough to convince you that you need to get wisdom, but how do we get it? Two verses in Proverbs chapter four tell us that we need to get wisdom. Proverbs 4:5 says “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Again in verse 7 we read “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Wisdom doesn’t come to us on its own. We must pursue it. The only wisdom we get without pursuing it is that which comes from the school of hard knocks. Sometimes we spend years paying for what we learned in that school. According to James 1:5, we can have wisdom just for the asking. “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.”

An excellent way to get wisdom is by reading, studying, and applying what we can learn from the book of Proverbs. He who has the right relationship with God will get wisdom. He has submitted himself to God and lets him put restrictions on his liberties.

Another excellent way to get wisdom is to make friends with the wise. We learn from our friends. Proverbs 13:20 says “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” A good local church is a good place to make that kind of friends. That is just one of many reasons why God has instituted the church. If you aren’t faithfully attending a good local church you are depriving yourself of an excellent source of wisdom.

There is no excuse for being without wisdom. Wisdom is personified in chapter eight of Proverbs. In verses 1-2 we read “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.” You would profit much from reading that entire chapter. Therefore, my friend, get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.

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