He Is No Fool

January 20, 2016

                                               He Is No Fool

In January of 1956 a missionary by the name of Jim Elliott was martyred by Indians in the jungle of Ecuador.  On Oct 28, 1949 he wrote in his journal “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  This profound statement is worthy of our consideration.

       He is no fool who surrenders himself to do the will of God. It is feared that some have a distorted opinion of what it means to surrender to do God’s will.  Anyone is dead wrong if he or she thinks that to do so would cut them off from everything that would give them pleasure or satisfaction.  True, it would cut them off from illicit and immoral pleasure, but we can find even greater pleasure in doing what is right.  Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  Many can testify that they have found that to be true.

It all begins when we become a genuine child of God.  That takes place when we recognize that we are sinners, repent of it, ask God to forgive us, and ask him to make us a child of his.  That is when we establish a relationship with him.  When we take into consideration the fact that Jesus loved us so much that he was willing to die to make it possible for God the Father to forgive us and deliver us from the condemnation we were under, we can’t help but love him.  If we love him, we will want to please him.  Jesus said, in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

He is no fool who keeps God’s commandments.  Perhaps it should be said that there is no one who keeps God’s commandments perfectly.  Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” We enjoy the blessing of God to the extent that we keep his commandments. What God askes of us is for our good.  Psalm 84:11 says, “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.”  In the end, he who keeps God’s commandments is a winner.  He enjoys the best in this life and he will be richly rewarded when he gets to heaven.  He gains things he will never lose.

The liberties some people take are detrimental to them.  Some are habit forming.  Some lower their resistance to temptation.  Some cause them to lose the respect of others.  It should be obvious that the works of the flesh, mentioned in Galatians 5:19-2, are detrimental to our well-being and that of others.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,   envyings murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The works of the flesh can and should be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,   meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

No one has a fruitful, profitable life if he hurts himself and others by what he does.  We are fools if we don’t take into consideration the well-being of those around us.  We run the risk of being cut off from them, perhaps even imprisoned.

He is no fool who lives within the realm of reality. Here are some examples of what it means to live outside the realm of reality:

  • Spending beyond your means
  • Eating too much junk food
  • Thinking you won’t be addicted by drugs and alcohol
  • Thinking you can do illegal things without getting caught.
  • (See my article on this web page entitled “Living within the Realm of Reality.” It is under “Various Themes.”)

To those of the fairer sex, let it be said that there is no exception.  This article could also have been written to say “She is no fool.” You can be well informed about the behavior of a fool by reading the book of Proverbs.  The fool is mentioned 37 times in the book.  Proverbs 11:29 says. “The fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”  No one wants to be called a fool, but some insist on living like one.  Please don’t be one of them.

We welcome your questions and comments.  They can be sent to the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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                      Sources of Strength For Times of Stress

Christians aren’t exempt from trials and tribulations.  They too suffer from stress, but they have access to an abundance of resources to enable them to deal with it. Anyone can have access to that same source of strength by becoming a child of God.  It is just another of numerous reasons why you too should be a child of God.

To have access to this source of strength should not be your primary reason for becoming a Christian.  More than anything else, you need God’s forgiveness because John 3:18 says you are condemned because you haven’t believed in the name of God’s son.  “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.” Condemnation speaks of eternal punishment.  II Thessalonians 1:8-9 says, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:   Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Believe me, that is much more serious than stress.

God’s forgiveness is offered to whosoever is willing to ask for it.  Revelation 22:17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” It is a matter of repenting of your sin, asking God to forgive you, and make you a child of his.  He can do that because Christ took the punishment you deserve when he died on the cross.  Romans 5:10 says we are reconciled to God by the death of his son. “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.”

Now let’s look at the sources of strength that are available to Christians in times of stress.  First and foremost is the promise of strength that God promises to give us.  In I Peter 5:7 God tells us to cast our cares upon him. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” How does he care for us?  II Corinthians 12:9-10 says “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.   Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  You have to experience that to know that it is true.  When the unsaved suffer from stress, they can do as they say “grin and bear it.” The Christian also feels the pain, but he can claim the promise of Philippians 4:13.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  You could translate that “I can bear all things if I trust in Christ.”

When Christians are experiencing stress, they find a wealth of strength from reading the Psalms of David.  They were written by David who knew what it was to suffer stress.  In Psalm 18:32 he wrote “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” Again in Psalm 31:9-10 he wrote “Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.   For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.”  Then in verses 14-15 he wrote “But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.   My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.”

Christians also have access to good books that encourage them and teach them how to handle stress.  One is written by David Jeremiah entitled “When Your World Falls Apart.”  Another suggestion is “Anger And Stress Management” by Wayne Mack.

Christians who attend a good Bible believing church have access to another source of strength when they are going through stress.  More than once I have gone to visit a Christian who was in the hospital.  On arriving I found their bed surrounded by friends from their church.  Nurses occasionally came to say that some had to leave.  Others in the same room only had one or two visitors.  Some didn’t have any.  When Christians go through stress their brothers and sisters in Christ remember them in a number of ways.  It may be a phone call to remind them that they are being remembered in prayer.  It might be a get well card.  It might be a personal visit.  Some may bring in a meal.  Some make themselves available to take them to the doctor or run errands for them.  The unsaved may receive some help from neighbors or friends, but Christians are commanded by God to bear one another’s burdens.  Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

Stress comes in many forms, and it comes to all of us.  If stress isn’t brought under control it may lead to depression.  That is even more serious, and may require professional attention.  Being a Christian won’t deliver you from stress, but it will prepare you to deal with it when it comes.  Strength in times of stress is just one of many advantages of being a Christian.  The blessings you receive from being a Christian far outweigh any price you pay.  Don’t wait any longer to become a Christian.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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         The Manifestation Of A Genuine Conversion

If you are truly saved you will reveal it by the way you live. You will want to tell others about it, but they should know it, whether you tell them or not.  Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”  If we think we have persuaded someone to place his faith in Christ for salvation, it’s best that we don’t tell everyone about it.  If we do, we may be embarrassed if he doesn’t show any evidence of it.  It is best to let him tell others about it, and even better if he shows it by the change in his life.  II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Some people aren’t hesitant about telling others that they are Christians, but their life doesn’t show it. If you are a genuine child of God, those around you will know it.  The fact that someone made a decision to accept Christ as their Savior doesn’t mean much unless we see a change in their life.  Some soul winners pride themselves in the number of people they have won to Christ.  If we ask them how many of those they have supposedly won are now faithfully attending church, they would have to confess that many aren’t.  We need to be winning souls, but after we win them we need to help them take the first steps in living the Christian life.

It would be refreshing to hear in our time more testimonies of people who converted to Christ and left no one in doubt about it. In history we read of conversions that were little short of miraculous.  One example is that of Francis of Asisi.  He was the son of a rich man.  He was taken as a prisoner of war and spent four years in captivity.  After his release he fell sick.  During that time he began to think about spiritual matters.  For a time he wavered between surrendering to God, or going back to an immoral life style.  He felt guilty because he had so much and most people around him had very little.  One night he invited a group of his friends to come to his house for a big party.  After eating and drinking, they went out to the street and had a disorderly celebration. All at once someone realized that Francis wasn’t with them.  They went back in the house to look for him.  They found him sitting on a bench in deep concentration.  When they asked him questions he didn’t respond.  One friend said in jest, “Can’t you see that he is thinking about getting married?” Then he responded and said, “Your’ right.  I am thinking about getting married to the most beautiful bride the world has ever known.  Her name is poverty.”  He never returned to his past life.  Not everything he did was biblical, but he dramatically manifested to the world that he had been converted.

Another dynamic example was that of Billy Sunday. In the years 1883-1890 he became famous in the United States as a baseball player.  In 1886 he was converted in a mission that was being used of God to win to Christ alcoholics and street people.  He said to his friends, “I have bid good bye to the past life.” He left no doubt about the fact that he did. After two years he stopped playing baseball and began preaching the gospel.  Thousands were converted in his evangelistic crusades.

There is little reason to believe that one’s conversion is genuine if he hasn’t abandoned his past life. We already read in II Corinthians 5:17 that old things will pass away.  It isn’t just a change in religion, although that may be included.  It is a change in the way we think and live.  Titus 2:12 says, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

I recently read a book entitled “Mission To The Head Hunters” by Frank and Marie Drown.  It was thrilling to read how they succeeded in persuading  savage Indians in the jungle of Ecuador to trust in Christ for salvation.  Conversion, for the Indians, meant that they abandoned tribal customs.  Among those customs were tribal warfare, shrinking the heads of conquered chieftains, polygamy, and witch doctors.  Their love for Christ enabled them to be victorious over the ridicule they received from other Indians.

In the Bible we read of some of the things the believers in the primitive church left behind. In I Thessalonians 1:7-10 it says they left their idolatry. In Acts 19:19 we read that they abandoned their “curious arts.” That means the practice of magic or witchcraft.  They made it public by burning their books in the street.

In our day, among the things we expect people to leave behind are profanity, pornography, drunkenness, and indecent behavior. If your conversion took place some years ago, the fact that you don’t do those things attests to the fact that you must be a Christian.  What did you leave behind when you were converted?  Did people see a change in you?

Conversion is not just a matter of leaving things behind. What you leave behind needs to be replaced by virtues that are added.  Christians aren’t just known for what they don’t do.  They are also known for what they do.  Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” II Peter 1:5-7 gives us a list of virtues we should be diligent to add to our lives. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;    and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;    and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”

As we said earlier, we long to see more dynamic conversions. Will yours be one of them?  It begins by repenting of your sins and accepting God’s forgiveness based on the merits of what Christ did for us when he died on the cross.  If your repentance is genuine, it will be manifest by the fact that you leave your sins and surrender to the will of God.  You will need the help of a good Bible believing church.  There you will find encouragement and gain knowledge of what God askes of us.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:    Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

 

 

 

 

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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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Shattered Lives

July 12, 2015

                                                 Shattered Lives

          Many live with stress and anxiety because their lives have been shattered.  How did they arrive at that lamentable situation?  The cause is not always the same for all, but there is a common cause for lives that are shattered.

Romans 6:23 gives us some insight into the cause of much human suffering.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Sin is the most common cause of suffering.  The most common theological interpretation of this verse is that sin results in the separation of the sinner from God.  That results in spiritual death.  That is true.  In this article, however, we are going to pursue another result of sin.  Something always dies as a result of sin. Proverbs 13:15 puts it very bluntly when it says, “the way of transgressors is hard.” Let me explain that by means of the following illustration.

Under the cover of darkness John goes out to see what he can steal.  He walks through the back alleys of houses in his neighborhood because he knows that he is more apt to find things to steal there.  It isn’t long before he finds a wheel barrow along with a spade and a pouch with several tools in it.  He puts them in the wheel barrow and pushes it home.  The next morning the residents of the house where John stole those things find that someone has stolen something of theirs.  The benefits they can realize from the wheel barrow and the tools died during the night.  It no longer exists.  To replace those things means a loss of money they could have spent for other things.  Some of their money died also.  The money and things stolen don’t have life, but the benefits their owners expected to realize from them has died for them.

John also suffered loss.  Most likely he doesn’t realize it.  He is thinking of the money he is going to get from the things he has stolen.    The feeling of honor and dignity has died in John’s mind.  Even the thief knows that it is wrong to steal.  He may find a way to justify it in his case, but deep down he knows that it is shameful.  It could be that John’s heart is so hard that he feels no shame.  If so, sometime in the past his dignity and self-respect died.  Also the respect and confidence others had for John died.  Sin is a way of death and degradation.

The deeper we go into sin, the more death we cause for ourselves and others.  Our dignity and self-respect die.  We die to the good life we could enjoy if we were living uprightly.

When the sense of self-worth and dignity die in us it is much easier to yield to sinful ways.  Our attitude will be, “Why not?  What have I to lose?  No one loves and cares for me.” It is especially tragic when a young person’s life has been shattered by sin.  He looks for the easiest way to get what he wants and needs, regardless of whether it is right and honorable.  Proverbs 30:20 describes the attitude of one who’s dignity has died.  “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.”

The life of many has been shattered because of physical disability. They have suffered the death of some of their bodily functions because of sin.  In the second church we started in Argentina we ministered to two young men who were physically handicapped because of taking illicit drugs.  They came to church with a walker.  We expect to see the elderly with walkers, not young men.  Those two young men will never enjoy the freedom and mobility most people have.  They lost it because of sin.  For them, the wages of their sin was the death of a sound, healthy body.

Dear reader, if you are one of those whose life has been shattered because of sin, don’t go on living in depression and despair.  There is still something good for you.  Some things that have died will never live again.  If you have ruined your body because of a sinful lifestyle, most likely there is no way to recover that loss.

Thanks to God, there is still a glorious future ahead for you.  If you are willing to humbly repent of your sin and ask God to forgive you and make you a child of his, he will do it.  Then, if you will surrender your life to God and let him direct your life, he will make some dramatic changes.  Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Then in Romans 12:1 we are told what we need to do.  “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.” With God’s help, you can recuperate the respect you have lost.  II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Some of what has died will come back to life again.  God can give you the grace you need to live with your handicapped body.  II Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Apart from that, looking further into the future, the child of God has the promise of a glorified body after this life.  I Corinthians 15:42-44 says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:   It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

Perhaps you are a child of God, but you have been unwilling to surrender your life to God.  That too can lead to a shattered life.  It isn’t too late to let go and let God take over your life.  Much of what has been lost; what has died because of your sin, can be recuperated.  You can start laying up treasure in heaven that will be waiting for you when you arrive.  What you think to gain by sin is an illusion.  What you gain by living a righteous and godly life is certain and secure.  Let God have his way in your life.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the f0llowing address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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                              The Fragrance Of Life Unto Life

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.   For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:    To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?    For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14-17).

The Apostle Paul says that “We are unto God a sweet savour.” If we are a sweet savour to God, we should be the same to those we are around.  He says, however, that that isn’t always true.  To those that perish we are the savour of death unto death.  The word “perish,” used here, speaks of those who are destined to be destroyed.  We are a reminder to them of their destination.

We all have our preferences.  Not everyone likes the same foods.  The same is true with regard to odors.  To me, the odor of a barnyard brings back sweet memories of when I grew up on the farm.  City folks say a barnyard stinks.

A sweet savour produces a pleasant satisfaction.  It is the feeling we have when we are with someone we love.  The unsaved man feels comfortable in the company of his unsaved friends.  They have many of the same moral values.  They are all in the same boat headed toward the same destination.  In comparison to his friends, he measures up.

God, in his mercy sometimes changes our sense of smell.  In other words, what was a disagreeable odor can become a pleasant odor.  Take the case of a young man from the city who falls in love with a girl who lives on a hog farm.  He goes out to the farm to visit her.  They spend hours sitting and talking on the swing on the front porch.  All the time he is there he is breathing the air impregnated with the smell of the pig pen.  After a time he begins to associate that odor with the girl he loves.

Something similar to that happened to me.  I was an atheist when I arrived on the university campus.  I didn’t want anything to do with religion.  I was convinced that there wasn’t anything good in it for me.  I wasn’t on campus very long before I met some young men who made friends with me.  They had some qualities that I couldn’t help but admire.

In spite of what appeared to be an exciting future I had ahead of me, I was disillusioned with life.  I felt an emptiness within.  It was as though I was saying to myself, “There must be something more to life that I haven’t found.” These young people I met had a peace and purpose for living that I didn’t have.  I could see that their relationship with God was extremely important to them.  I wanted what they had and I thought I could get it and still leave God out of my life.  I thought it would rub off on me just by being around them.

I started going with them to evangelistic meetings they had on campus.  I rejected what I was hearing about God.  I wasn’t ready to accept that.  I enjoyed the attention these young people gave me.  Without realizing it, what at first was a bad odor became sweeter.  Going to spiritual activities with them wasn’t as disagreeable as it was at first.

A significant change took place in my thinking one day when my botany class was in a lab where each of us had a microscope in front of us.  The professor gave all of us a tree leaf that we were to look at under the microscope.  I was overwhelmed when I saw all the activity that was taking place in what I thought was a dead leaf.  I said to myself, “There has to be a God to make something that magnificent!” That was when I began to believe in God.

You may ask, “Did that feeling of emptiness go away then?”  No it didn’t.  That took place a few weeks later.  I took one of the Christian girls to a Valentines banquet that the student group sponsored.  I told that girl a lot about myself.  I stretched the truth on a number of things.  That night, when I returned to my room, I felt miserable.  I felt God was saying to me, “You lied to that girl.” I fell on my knees beside my bed, confessing my sins, and asking God to forgive me and save me.  The next morning the empty feeling was gone.  To this day it has never come back.  I was a new man.

What had been a savour of death unto death was transformed to a savour of life unto life.  Now God has made it possible for me also to be a savour of life unto life.  I thank God for those young people who were unto me a savour of life unto life.

Friend, how do you fit into this analogy?  What savour do you sense when you are around Christians?  If you are a child of God, are you giving off a pleasant fragrance by an exemplary Christian life?  Don’t be as some who corrupt the word of God, but be as of sincerity, as it says in verse 17.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  randrforchristianliving.org

 

 

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An Unknown Furure

April 6, 2015

                                        An Unknown Future

“None of us know what the future holds for us.  Proverbs 27:1 says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”  Uncertainty about the future can be distressing.  We feel dismay when it seems as though there are dark clouds approaching, and we have nowhere to turn for shelter.

Those who are true believers also have those feelings at times, but they are consoled by the promises they find in God’s Word.  The following are a few examples of those promises:

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

“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).

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”  ( I Peter 5:7).

“I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:5-6).

John 14:1-3 tells us not to be troubled because there is a glorious future waiting for us if we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.   And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” God has something special planned for us.

The unbelievers don’t have that assurance.  Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The gospel is the good news that you can be included in the family of God and have a part in that place that Jesus is preparing for those who believe in him. It’s not just an intellectual belief.  God wants us to believe in faith from our heart.   Read with a believing heart the following verses:

“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”  ( John 1:12).

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24)

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” ( I John 5:11-13).

Jesus died in order that you might have forgiveness for your sins.  You can have that forgiveness if you will go to God in prayer and tell him that you come to him as a sinner condemned.  Ask him to forgive you and make you a child of his.  He has promise, in John 6:37 that he will hear and answer your prayer.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

If you have done that, please let us know.  We would like to encourage and help you.  Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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                                                                      A Self-Examination Of Our Faith

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5).

It is disgusting to find out that someone sold us a false bill of goods. This is what happens to many people after their death and they find out that what they were told about the way to heaven was false. The only knowledge we have about what happens after death is what we read in the Bible. John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

In spite of what we sometimes hear, there aren’t many roads that lead to heaven. If you want to go to a certain city, you can’t take just any road and expect to get there. What reason do you have therefore for believing that there are many roads that lead to heaven? If we accept what the Bible says, we have to accept the fact that there is only one road to heaven.

Jesus said very plainly “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:5). We also read in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” A decision of such magnitude shouldn’t be taken lightly. Men have their opinions, but we better find out what God says about it. That’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.”

Even in our evangelical churches, it’s very possible that there are some who aren’t genuinely saved. They may think they are, but that doesn’t mean they are. Perhaps they made what they thought was a decision. Perhaps they repeated a prayer after some Christian worker, but they never repented of their sins and asked God from their heart to save them. Salvation doesn’t come by repeating some magic words. It is best done by coming to God personally, and asking God in your own words, to forgive you and accept you as one of his children.

If someone claims to be a child of God, there should be some outward manifestation of it in his life. I have said that “After I die I don’t want people to be surprised to hear that I was a Christian.” In Matthew 7:16 Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” II Corinthians 5:17 also says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

To be “in the faith” means that the person placed his faith in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for your salvation. Romans 5:8-10 makes it adequately clear that salvation is only possible by means of the shed blood of Christ. “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.”

It is unfortunate that many trust in their own merits to give them standing before God. They have lived a decent life. They have been good to others. They are respected by many. They say, “That has to count for something.” The Bible says, however, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost: which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our savior” (Titus 3:5-6).

The word “examine,” used in II Corinthians 13:5, is the same word we use for an exam taken in school. It most often consists of questions. To examine ourselves means we need to ask ourselves questions and answer them honestly. The following are some questions you could ask yourself:

  1. Has there been a time when I personally remember having asked God to forgive me of my sins and accept me as one of his children?
  2. Do I enjoy reading the Bible and spending time with God in prayer?
  3. Do I enjoy going to church and growing in my knowledge of God through the preaching and teaching of the Bible?
  4. Do I choose my close friends among those who love God and walk with him?
  5. Have I experienced the reality of II Corinthians 5:17?
  6. Do I give other Christians reason to believe that I’m a Christian?

Paul also says in II Corinthians 13:5 that we should prove ourselves to know whether Jesus Christ is in us. Every time a small plane comes out of the factory it goes through a stress test before it goes out to be sold. There are pilots who take the planes up in the air and put them under stress to prove that they are flight worthy. The test you give yourself in the above questions is to give you assurance that you are on the road to heaven. If the answer to the majority of those questions is “no,” that should give you reason to think you aren’t genuinely saved.

It is unfortunate that some Christians go through life without the assurance of their salvation. That shouldn’t be your experience. The Bible says we can know that we are saved. I John 5:10-13 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.   And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Some refuse to examine themselves for fear of what the answer will be. They are like those who refuse to go to the doctor for fear of what his diagnosis will be. The fear that some have of examining themselves is the fear that they would need to make some dramatic changes in their life. For some it might be that they would have to admit to all their friends in church that they have been living a lie. They have professed to be something that they weren’t. For others, it might be that they would need to leave their church, and seek out a church that preaches and teaches the Word of God. Don’t let pride keep you from making the most important decision you will ever make.

If your examination leaves you in doubt about your salvation, you need to tell God that you aren’t sure about it. Ask him to forgive you of your sins and make you a child of his. Then you can claim the promise of John 1:12. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Power At The Believer’s Disposal

Some people are hesitant about becoming a Christian because they are almost certain that they couldn’t live the Christian life. If you meet someone who feels that way, the best way to respond to them is to agree with them. Within ourselves we don’t have what it takes to live the Christian life.

The power to live the Christian life does not rest in human effort alone. Those who try to do it that way inevitably fail. The power to live the Christian life comes from three sources.

First of all, it takes “a new you” to live the Christian life. The salvation experience includes a renewal. Renewal means to be made new. Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saveus, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Ephesians chapter four talks about the change that needs to take place after we become a child of God. It isn’t something that happens automatically because we are commanded to do it. It is a matter of putting off the “old man” and putting on the “new man.” The old man is your former way of thinking and living. The new man is the change that God wants to bring about in your life. Verse 23 says that it is by means of a renewing of the mind. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The new man is formed in us as we yield to the Holy Spirit who dwells in us

When one becomes a Christian he shouldn’t feel compelled to say, “Now I can’t do the things I used to do.” If he has put on the new man he will say “I no longer want to do those things.” That makes all the difference in the world. The new man has a different view of life. He has a new and nobler reason for living. To help you see the need of putting on the new man, you need to get your Bible and read Ephesians chapter four, especially verses 17-32. Meditate on it and ask God to renew your mind. If you are hesitant about becoming a Christian for fear that you couldn’t live the Christian life, please reconsider it in the light of what Ephesians chapter four says.

Since we live in this world, we are constantly under the influence of the wrong philosophy of life. We are tempted to think like people in this world think. For that reason, we need a continual renewal of our minds. That is what Romans 12:2 tells us. “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.” The verbs in this verse are in a tense that means it needs to be continual.

The second source of power for living the Christian life is power that God gives us through prayer. God gives us power to do what is right. Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” In Philippians 4:13 the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” We need to believe that and claim the promise for ourselves.

Ephesians 6:11-18 tells us that God has places the Christian armor at our disposal. This is the third source of enablement for living the Christian life. By means of this armor we can be victorious over the temptations that come our way. The armor consists of:

  1. The truth to guard us against deception. Verse 14
  2. The breastplate of righteousness to keep us from committing unrighteous deeds. Verse 14
  3. Shoes for our feet that will keep us walking in the way of peace. Verse 15
  4. The shield of faith to guard us against subtle temptations. Verse 16
  5. The helmet of salvation which is the assurance that we are God’s children. Verse 17
  6. The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. It tells us what we should and shouldn’t do. Verse 17

Finally, II Peter 1:3 tells us that God has at our disposal all we need. “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.” That leaves us without excuse for being victorious in our Christian life. Living the Christian life isn’t just for some super saints who have what it takes. We all have what it takes.  If you haven’t become a genuine Christian because you thought you couldn’t live the Christian life, you need wait no longer. It is available for you, my friend. Now you know you can, with God’s divine help. If you are a believer, I challenge you to write down Philippians 4:13 this way. “I (write your name here)_can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Are Churches Too Judgmental?

            A justification for not attending church that is sometimes heard is that the churches are too judgmental.  Is that criticism justified?

In this article I’m going to take my place alongside of the one who is making that criticism.  Don’t leave me now, in case you are one of them.  Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” I would like to reason with you.  You have a reason for not going to church.  That is being reasonable.  If you didn’t have a reason for not going you would be unreasonable.  If churches are too judgmental we need to ask, in what way are they being judgmental.  Isn’t that a reasonable question?

Some men think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of the fact that they are living with a woman without having taken the step of marriage.  Are churches justified in their disapproval of common law marriages?  I’m sorry my friend, but that’s the way God says it should be.  Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”  Marriage is a commitment to love and honor your spouse.  It is also a binding legal contract.  It gives stability to the home and family.  The churches come out on the winning side in this argument.

Some women think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of the way they dress.  They want to dress in apparel that gives them sex appeal.  Are churches justified in their disapproval of that?  It appears as though they are, if they take seriously what the Bible says about it.  I Timothy 2:9 says, “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.” As someone has said, “Why are they advertising if they don’t have anything for sale?” Again the churches come out on the winning side.

Some men may think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of their social drinking.  They think they have the Bible on their side because it says in John chapter two that Jesus made wine.  Yes, that’s what is says, but many question whether it was fermented wine.  Most churches rightly think that the path of prudence is to abstain from alcoholic beverages because of the danger of addiction and the terrible damage that is done because of drunkenness. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” It appears as though churches have good reason for their disapproval of social drinking.

Some think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of smoking.  Since smoking isn’t mentioned in the Bible, they don’t see why there should be any prohibition against it.  Do you think the tobacco companies are also judgmental because they put on every package of cigarettes a warning that smoking may damage your health?  Churches have prayer meetings.  A frequent prayer request is for healing of the sick.  If someone requests prayer for an uncle who has emphysema, isn’t it also reasonable to pray that he will quit smoking?  The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Aren’t those who are addicted to smoking under the power of cigarettes?  Churches want the best for you.  They feel it is their duty to warn society of the dangers that threaten the wellbeing of people.  Do churches disapprove of anything that is essential to a healthy happy life?

My friend, I have just touched on four things that churches are judgmental about.  Many more could be mentioned.  Could it be that your reason for thinking that churches are too judgmental is because they disapprove of something you are doing, or want to do?  Be reasonable.  Are the churches disapproving of anything you couldn’t live without?

Could it be that you are the one who is too judgmental?  I trust you realize that you have set yourself up as a judge.  You are judging the churches because they are judging you.

Churches without standards are a disgrace.  They have forfeited their reason for existing.  The loving appeal of a good Bible believing church is a warning to escape from judgment. They can’t help but be judgmental.  Their message to the world is a loving appeal for people to be reconciled to God.  Romans 5:9-10 says, “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.”

My friend, won’t you reconsider your attitude toward churches that are teaching the truth of God’s word?  You need what they have to offer.  Being an obedient Christian isn’t going to deprive you of anything that is for your good.  Psalm 84:11 says, “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.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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