March 22, 2021


By Russell George

We make investments in hopes of getting a good return from them. Many, throughout their life, invest money in things like mutual funds. It is wise to choose a financial adviser who studies the markets to know which investments will give the best returns. When it comes time for us to retire, it is a great consolation to know that we have money set aside for retirement.

This article deals with spiritual investments. They always have a good rate of return. There are a number of ways that we can make spiritual investments. If we have a disciplined Christian life, we will take time each day for a personal devotional time. It is a time when we read the Bible and spend time in prayer. Some of the time can be spent in praising the Lord for all he has done for you and what he continues to do for you. Some time will also be spent in sharing our needs and seeking God’s direction in decisions we need to make. Throughout every day we make decisions. We need to ask God to help us make the right decisions. Our personal devotional time is an investment we make. In return we get a closer personal relationship with God. We gain knowledge from God’s Word that helps us have discernment. That is of great value.

In the first Psalm, in speaking of the blessed man, says in verses 2-3 thatHis 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.” God wants to bless us, but what we get from God depends, in some measure, in what we give to him. The time we spend in personal devotions is an investment of our time. The two basic investments we make are in time and money.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “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.” Another investment a good Christian makes is in faithful church attendance. There may be some financial investment, but most of it is in our time. We should go to church to worship and praise the Lord, but as a result of it, we shall grow spiritually from the teaching and preaching of God’s Word. Don’t go to church for what you expect to get from the church, but you will be richly blessed if you go.

Christian parents can testify to the rich dividends they receive from their investment in the spiritual nurture and growth of their children. My mother-in-law made the mistake of marrying an unsaved man so she didn’t have his help in the spiritual nurture of her nine children. She made a tremendous investment in them by taking them to Sunday school and church every Sunday. She had a daily devotional time with them. She taught them how to pray and helped each one make a decision to accept Christ as his or her Savior. To this day they all follow the Lord faithfully.

My wife and I can testify to the tremendous blessing we have received from the investment we made in the spiritual needs of our six children. They have all continued to walk with God. Some Christian parents have had the unfortunate experience of seeing one or more of their children leave God out of their lives in spite of the investment they made in them. That is the exception rather than the normal. Christian parents who invest time and money in the spiritual growth of their children are much less likely to suffer from the heartache of having a wayward child.

The investment Christian parents make in their children is more often in time than in money. There may be some monetary investment in them. They need to buy them Bibles and good reading material. Another monetary investment they can make in their children is in sending them to a good Christian school or home schooling them. The result of that is that they will get a much better education than most children are getting in public schools.

Another spiritual investment we can make is in terms of our giving. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Caution; don’t give just for the expectation of getting. What God gives back to us is not always money. He has many other ways of blessing us. We should never think of spiritual investments in terms of what we hope to get in return. We should serve the Lord because we love him and want to please him. The better part of our spiritual investments will come to us after we get to heaven. Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” We will have all eternity to enjoy those dividends.



November 26, 2019


It makes me cringe every time I hear someone call another Christian a legalist. I ask myself, is he justified in calling him a legalist? Does he believe that salvation comes by keeping the law? Is he a member of a church that teaches that one can’t be a member of the church unless he or she keeps a list of moral laws that they have in their constitution?

To begin this article on legalism, let’s assume that there is a married couple that we will call Fred and Susan. They have two sons and a daughter. They are all married and gone from home. Fred is a farmer. Susan doesn’t work outside the home, but she does take some responsibility in the care of the farm animals. She also plants a big garden every Spring and during the Summer she freezes some of the vegetables for the Winter.

Fred and Susan are both Christians they both grew up in a Christian home and were saved at an early age. Their children have all established Christian homes like their parents. Like their parents, they are faithful church members.

Fred doesn’t hold any office in the church, but he does mow the grass in the Summer on the two acres around the church. In the Winter he clears the snow off the church parking lot. He never takes any pay for it. Susan is a Sunday school teacher. She and another woman from the church clean the church every Saturday. They don’t take any pay for it either.

Fred and Susan have a happy marriage and an ardent love for one another. Susan does all she can to meet her husband’s needs. After each meal Fred helps Susan clear the table. Then he nearly always gives her a hug and a kiss and thanks her for the meal.

They also have an ardent love for the Lord and do their best to honor and please him. When their children were still at home they always had a Bible story time with them after the evening meal. In the morning they both get up early enough to have a personal quiet time with the Lord. Before they go to bed at night they share prayer requests and pray together.

Recently Fred and Susan have been concerned about some changes they have seen in their church. Previously nearly all the men came to church in a suit and tie. Now more and more of them come in slacks and a sport shirt. Some even come in blue jeans and a t shirt. Previously nearly all the women came to church wearing a dress or a skirt and blouse. Now more and more are coming in slacks and a blouse.

Fred and Susan discussed this matter one Sunday on their way home from Church. Fred said, “I don’t see that God has lost any of his majesty. When we go to church to worship Him I think we honor him by coming dressed appropriately.” Susan said, “I do too. I would be ashamed to to to church if I wasn’t dressed for the occasion.” Fred said. “Somewhere in the Psalms it says, Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

A short time later they heard that someone had referred to them as “legalists.” They discussed the matter over the dinner table. Fred asked, “What do they mean by the word “legalist?” Susan said, “It speaks to me of laws.” Fred said, “Me too, but I’m not aware of any laws we have to keep. I think we just do what we do because we want to honor and Please the Lord.” Susan said, “I hope so.”

A few weeks later, as they were gathering for the adult Sunday school class, Fred heard one of the men say to another man, “Well, I see you came to church this morning without your white shirt and tie.” The other man said, “Yes, I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that it says I have to wear a white shirt and tie when I go to church.” On their way home from church that Sunday Fred told Susan what he heard them say. She thought a little bit and said, “What if he starts coming to church in his pajamas? The Bible doesn’t say anything against that either.” Fred said, “It sounds like that is more of a legalistic attitude than what we have.”

What do you think about Fred and Susan? Would you call them legalists? All of us have standards that we set for ourselves. They aren’t laws that we feel obligated to keep. They are just rules that we set for ourselves. It’s true, there are prohibitions in the Bible that God has set for us like those in the ten commandments. Some are legal laws. “Thou shalt not steal” is one. Others are moral laws. like “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” If it gets so far out of hand that a man takes his neighbor’s wife across a state line he may be in serious trouble.

Normally, in church situations, if you call another Christian a legalist, it’s just a way of spurning him because you think his standards are higher than they need to be. In reality, you are saying, “He has higher standards than I do.”

If someone calls you a legalist don’t take offense to it. Just pray for him or her that they will see the error of their way. Neither should you take it as an indication that you should lower your standards. It’s an indication that others should put their standards back up where they once were.

Heb_6:12 “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”


Helping Homeless People

June 19, 2019

Helping Homeless People

By Russell George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most of the homeless people have their life ahead of them. They aren’t senior citizens. It isn’t too late to help them prepare for something better. We as Christians could take the homeless people as a mission field. We could offer them a chance to change their situation. The proper approach would be to reach out to them in mercy and compassion. Let them know that God has something better for them if they will trust in Christ for salvation and then surrender to God and let Him direct their lives. We could show them promises like those in Psalm 37:3-4. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God has the power to change people from within. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

* No one was under the handicap of an addiction.

*All parents taught their children to submit to authority.

* Schools taught children how to think for themselves

* All felt a repugnance towards looking at pornography.

* No one was tempted to steal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” ( Ephesians 2:8-10).

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



March 16, 2019


By Russell George

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

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

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

If we rightly understand the Bible, such will be the end at death of those who are drifting through life without having given any consideration to what the Bible says about the gospel message. John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Christ’s death frees us from condemnation if we put our trust in him. Romans 5:8-9 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drifting – Part Two

By Russell George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Be Not Weary In Well Doing

Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We all grow weary at times. With all of us there is a limit to our physical strength. If we consistently go beyond our limit we can damage our body. To get physically exhausted in well doing obviously isn’t what God has in mind in this verse. He doesn’t expect us to go beyond the limits of our physical strength in well doing. What does he mean then?

More often than not we grow weary in well doing due to a heart problem. It isn’t a physical problem. They say “Where there is a will there is a way.” We lack will power. We aren’t highly motivated when it comes to well doing. There are things we would rather do.

Some feel they are justified in growing weary in well doing because no one shows appreciation for what they are doing. That is discouraging, but keep in mind that it is God who promises the reward. He never forgets what we do. If we don’t get appreciation for the good we do, perhaps we should learn from it, and show appreciation to those who are occupied in well doing.

Some people, by nature, are humanitarian at heart. They have a tender heart. When they see people suffering they want to do something to relieve their suffering. God wants all his people to be that way. When we surrender our will to God he begins to change our will. Romans 12:1 tells us that we need to present our bodies to God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” If he has our bodies, he will have our will.

By well doing we serve others, and in turn they serve us. Galatians 6:2 says we are to bear one another’s burdens. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When God saves us he equips us to be occupied in well doing. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read that we are saved by God’s grace. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Then it says that he equips us to serve him.

In John 14:15 Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments. What are his commandments? In Mark 12:29-31 he gave us two commandments, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

In I Corinthians 12 we read that God has placed his people in what is called the body of Christ. Verse 27 says “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Technically all believers are included in the body of Christ. In our earthly experience it manifests itself in the local church. It is God’s plan that all of his children be members of a local church. There we have an opportunity to exercise the spiritual gifts or talents that we read about also in I Corinthians chapter twelve.

Some might ask, “What is meant by well doing?” First of all, it seems obvious that the opposite would be evil doing. There is no limit to what can and should be included in well doing. God wants to use us in well doing. In Mark 10:21 Jesus said “Take up thy cross and follow me.” Sometimes he gives us a heavy cross to bear. If we love him, as we should, we will be willing to do what he asks of us. I have known several people whose cross was that of caring for a sick marriage partner. When old age approaches some are stricken with dementia and other ailments.

The promise is that we shall reap if we faint not. God may reward us by sending someone to make sacrifices for us when we desperately need it. On the other hand, we may not get our reward until we get to heaven. In either case, we will get our reward if we don’t faint.

Obviously the word faint used here doesn’t mean to faint physically. It means to relax or let down on doing our duty. It is debatable about what will happen if we faint. One commentary, (Matthew Henry) gives the impression that if we faint we will lose all the rewards we have gained. I would rather believe that our rewards are laid up secure in heaven.

Don’t grow weary in well doing. God still has work for you to do. There is much to gain by serving God and others. When you get to heaven you will be very glad you didn’t grow weary in well doing. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).


Chapter XXIV A Discipline Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chapter XXII Should Paul Rent The Store Front?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Chapter XVII Being Used Of God

November 22, 2016

Chapter XVII Being Used Of God

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

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

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

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

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