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.

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A Full Life

July 3, 2015

                                              A Full Life

When it comes to our life, what they say is true.  We only go around once. We all want to get the most we can out of life.  In this article we will consider what constitutes a good life and what we need to do to live it.  We need to determine what our philosophy of life is.  What do you expect to get from life?  What, for some, constitutes a good life is not the same for everyone.

You need to think of your life as a long journey.  When you reach the end of your journey, will you be where you want to be?  What will be your reaction?  Will it have been a profitable journey, or a wasted life?  Many arrive at the end and conclude that theirs has been an empty life.  Don’t let that happen to you.  It will most certainly be your experience if your goal is to get all you can for yourself.  The goal of many is to accumulate wealth.  For them, success is measured in wealth.  If you are thinking that way, you need to give serious consideration to what Proverbs 23:5 says.  “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

I read once about a rich man who knew that his remaining days on earth were few.  He told his wife that he wanted her to put all his money in his coffin before they closed the lid for the last time.  After the funeral some friends of his wife asked her if she had complied with his wishes.  She said “Yes I did.  I had him write a check in the name of cash.  I went to the bank with it and drew out all his money in cash.  Then I put it all in my account.  Then I wrote out a check to him for that amount and slipped it into his coffin when they let me see him for the last time.”

If you live your life selfishly others will be hurt by it.  It may be your life partner or your children.  To avoid that happening, you need to set down some basic convictions that you will abide by throughout your life.  Convictions are firm beliefs that control your life.  They are principles that guide you in making decisions.  They are decisions you make and abide by   like, “I will not steal, I will always tell the truth, I will keep myself pure.” Genuine Christians make convictions to accept the Bible as the word of God and pattern their life according to its precepts.  In the Bible they find guide posts and they are convinced that if they violate them it will be to their own peril.

I have found that Luke 6:38 is a tremendous key to a full, happy life.  It 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.” This is a promise that God has given to those who love him.  It includes more than money.  It also includes time, love, attention, and a host of other things that we can give.  It is a promise that we need to claim.  A word of caution needs to be given.  We don’t always get back what we give.  If we give money, for example, God may give us health in return.  We may not even realize that we have received our recompense. God also gives us friends who do a lot for us.  Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.   The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

Some are afraid to give their life to God.  They say, “What will happen if after all the promise of life after death is nothing but a delusion?” The truth is that the majority of Bible believing Christians find joy and satisfaction in living the Christian life.  They haven’t wasted their life.  When they reach the end of their life they will have no regrets.  They have little to be ashamed of.  Even if there were no life after death, they haven’t lost anything.

For the born again Christian, death isn’t the end.  It is just the day of their home going.  Jesus gives us these assuring words in John 14:1-6.  “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.    And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.    Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  When we die we go to enjoy the rewards we have been laying up while we were living a full life here on earth.  Jesus said, “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 don’t get to heaven by living a full life.  We get there by putting our trust in the sacrifice Christ made for us when he died on the cross.

The following are some sayings that you would do well to contemplate and appropriate them for your life.

  • “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
  • Just one life. It will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
  • “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
  • “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

If you aren’t a child of God you are losing something of tremendous value every day.  At death you will hear Jesus pronounce these heart rending words. “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).  I want you to have a full life.  There is no better way to have it than by being a child of God and living the Christian life. God has made it possible for you to have a full life.  It begins by humbly coming to God, trusting him for the forgiveness of your sins, and surrendering your life to him.  Why don’t you do it now?

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Your Reactions and Relationships

Many times the wrong reaction to a problem will only make matters worse.  It is easy to react in a fleshly way to problems.  Sometimes we need to fight.  At other times the right reaction is to be still and wait.  Sometimes people know what their reaction should be to a problem, but they still react in the wrong way.  Some are too quick to react.  They make decisions without thinking, and then try to defend their decision.

It is disconcerting when we try to help someone with a problem, but they attack us instead of attacking the problem we try to help them with. They may say, “Who are you to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do?”

Many people hurt themselves and their relationships with others because of some character fault.  They may be too proud to recognize that they are at fault.  They blame others for being unloving or impatient with them.  They are like a square peg in a round hole.  They constantly have problems with human relations.  In this article we are going to make mention of some improper ways to react to problems.  We will also give you the proper way to react. If you find yourself in one of these problems, please take heed and seek help in changing the way you react.

Some make the mistake of returning evil for evil.  That is called taking vengeance.  “He made me suffer so I have a right to make him suffer.” This is the law of the jungle.  Tribes fight among themselves.  They exchange blow for blow, but no one ever wins.  It is always better to take the advice of Romans 12:19. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Let God even the score.  He is much more capable then you are.  We should also make an attempt to make reconciliation.  Matthew 18:15-19 gives the procedure for that.

Another bad reaction to a strained relationship is to clam up.  In other word; refuse to talk.  That sometimes happens in a marriage relationship when there is a disagreement, and one of the two refuses to yield and admit that he or she is in the wrong.  It results in a stalemate and the problem isn’t solved.  The one who refuses to talk is nearly always the one who is in the wrong.  Refusing to talk may leave you twice guilty.  The solution is to humble yourself.  That is extremely hard for some people to do.  I Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Some react to those who try to help them by taking it as an indignity against them.  It may be that others are trying to get them to face honestly a character fault they have, but instead of recognizing it, they take it as a criticism.  They may say, “That’s just the way I am and people will have to accept me the way I am.” Instead of honestly facing their problem they may feel sorry for themselves.

If you react that way, you need to realize that those who try to help you are the ones who love you.  They care about you.  They could just avoid you and leave you out of their lives. Instead, they try to help you.  You need to be grateful to those who try to help you overcome your faults.  You need to recognize your fault and take advantage of their willingness to help you get victory over it.  It is for your good.

Most of our character faults are corrected by a humble submission, first of all to God.  James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Then we need to submit ourselves to our elders at it says in I Peter 5:5, that we quoted earlier.  Our problems are often caused by the works of the flesh that are found in Galatians 5:19-21.  “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.”   Victory over the works of the flesh is found in replacing them with the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-24.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,    Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.    And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

Right reactions result in happy relationships.  Don’t let bad reactions hinder you from enjoying good relationships.  Your friends should be among the most valuable things you call yours.  Take good care of them.  Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

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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.”

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The Reason For The Season

November 24, 2014

The Reason For The Season

            Why do you celebrate Christmas?  Not all of us have the same reason for celebrating the season.

For some, Christmas is an occasion to get together with relatives and friends.  Usually that brings happiness, but sometimes it ends in arguments and hurt feelings.

For business people, it’s a time of increased sales.  They say, “Well people are going to spend money anyhow, so we may as well take advantage of it.”

Some people look forward to Christmas because of the excitement of receiving gifts.  It is a joy to receive gifts, but there are often some that we don’t want or need.

Many look forward to sitting down to the table and eating the Christmas dinner.  There is usually an abundance of good food and some special dishes that don’t often appear on the table.

For some, Christmas is a time for big parties with dancing and drinking.

Some may just enjoy all that has become a part of Christmas; things like the decorations, the music, special greetings, and Christmas cards.

No doubt, for some, various or all of the above are included in their reason for celebrating the season.

The honest truth is that history confirms the fact that Christmas began as a pagan holiday.  Around the fourth century the Catholic Church converted it to a Christian holiday by giving it some Christian connotations.  For centuries now Christmas has been purported to be in commemoration of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.

Holidays are celebrated in commemoration of something special.  For example, Veteran’s Day is celebrated in commemoration of the soldiers, living and dead, who defended our country.  Easter is celebrated in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ.  The Fourth of July is celebrated in commemoration of the victory our forefathers won against England, and gave us a free country.  Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God for his goodness to us.  Even birthdays are celebrated because someone has completed another year of life.

The fact that Jesus was willing to leave heaven’s glory and come to this earth and be born as a babe in a manger is certainly reason for a great celebration.  At Christmas we celebrate, not just Jesus birth, but that he became a man and lived among us. He proved, by the way he lived, that he was truly the Son of God.  Then he gave his life in a cruel death for our sins, so that we can be forgiven and have a glorious future.

There needs to be a reason for a celebration.   If you choose to celebrate the season without a reason, or for a reason that leaves Jesus Christ out, that is your privilege.  However, please don’t censure those who celebrate it in commemoration of the birth of Christ.



The Blessings of Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

We need to keep in mind that the beatitudes speak of characteristics that should be found in Christians.  They may be found in some unbelievers, but we have every right to expect that they will manifest themselves in those who profess to be in the family of God.

In this article the words “justice” and “righteousness” are used interchangeably.  They basically mean the same thing.

When a teen ager says to his father, “But dad, that isn’t fair,” a wise father will say, “You’re right, it isn’t, but we will have to accept it anyhow.” There are many things in life that are unjust.  Wars, for example, are caused by unrighteousness.  Young men are drafted into the Army.  It may be that they don’t want to go, but they have no choice.  They may even be killed in the war.  In a war, innocent civilians are often killed.  That certainly isn’t just.

Criminal acts are unrighteous.  They show a lack of respect for the rights of others.  The criminal says, “I’ll get what I want, even if I have to kill someone to get it.” We also suffer because of corruption.  Many people get rich by taking advantage of others.  Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Before we go to vote we should be informed about which candidates give indication that they hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Righteousness solves a lot of problems.  If we want others to treat us right we need to treat them right.  In Matthew 7:12 Jesus said, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  We can’t honestly say that we hunger and thirst for righteousness unless we are willing to be righteous in all our dealings with others.

Hunger and thirst are needs that must be met.  What do we hunger and thirst for?  We need to have control over our appetites.  When it comes to food and drink, some try to satisfy their desires with that which isn’t good for them.  If we aren’t careful, the same can happen with our spiritual appetites.    Some hunger for the praise of men; others for material things.  Some live to be entertained.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to desire to be free from the power of sin.  Some say, “If it wasn’t for temptations it wouldn’t be so hard to have victory over sin.” That is true, but the dead are the only ones who aren’t tempted.  As long as we are in this body we will have to struggle with temptation.  Jesus said in Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The best solution to victory over temptation is to yield to the will of God.  If we do, we will want what God wants.  The more we love God, the more we want to please him.  God is righteous.  Sometimes we may not think so.  Sometimes he sends things our way that make us think he is unjust.  It isn’t wise to argue with God.  What he sends our way is always for our good, even though we may not understand the reason for it at the time.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

If you run with the wrong crowd you will find it difficult to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  You will hunger and thirst for what they run after.  You need to choose friends who will set a good example and encourage you to do right.  If you are at an arts and crafts show you may not think about being hungry while you enjoy looking at all there is to see.  If you happen to go by a stand where they are cooking hamburgers or hot dogs, you suddenly sense a hunger when you smell that good food.  That’s why it’s easier to maintain a hunger and thirst for righteousness if you stay in the proper environment.

It is normal to have hunger and thirst.  If we don’t have it, it’s an indication that we are sick.  It’s an awful feeling when people are hungry or thirsty and have no means of meeting their need.  The promise of Matthew 5:6 is that we shall be filled if we hunger and thirst for righteousness.  God knows what is good for us and he delights in giving it to us if we really want it.  Even if we hunger and thirst for something good, like righteousness, we may not always get all we want when we want it.  Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”

A healthy hunger and thirst for righteousness is an ongoing thing.  After we eat a good meal and drink a big glass of water, we aren’t hungry and thirsty any more.  Before very long, however, hunger and thirst are back knocking on our door.  It should be the same way with hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Righteousness isn’t something we consume, like food.  We should have an ongoing hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Included in the Greek word “filled,” in Matthew 5:6, is the idea of satisfaction.  Many of the things this world gives don’t satisfy very long.  In one way, we never get enough of what God has to offer us.  Righteousness should be something we want in all our relationships.

My friend, are you blessed with a hunger and thirst for righteousness?  If not, you need to look for the reason for it.  Could it be that you are running with the wrong crowd?  Could it be that you have wandered away from God?  Could it be that you aren’t a child of God because you have never received Christ as your Savior?  John 1:12 says “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

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 The Weapons of Our Warfare

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:   (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)   Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5)

The Apostle Paul tells us that our weapons shouldn’t be carnal.  What is meant by carnal weapons?  They aren’t those that demand an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth (Matthew 5:38).  They are those that are threats of vengeance.  They are also those that use deceit, lies and character assassination.  Victories are often won by means of these weapons, but it isn’t just.

If we can’t use carnal weapons, what weapons can we use?  We find them in Ephesians 6:13-17.  “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.    Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;    And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.    And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” For the most part, these speak of our armor that defends us.  The sword is also mentioned.  It serves for both defense and offense.  God wouldn’t give us this armor unless he knew that we are in danger of being attacked.

Many Christians around the world are suffering persecution.  Not only is their character being attacked; sometimes their lives are taken.  When Christians suffer persecution there is often confusion about who is the victor.  If a Christian loses his life due to persecution, we often say he was a victim.  The truth of the matter is, in one sense he was   the victim, but in a greater sense he was the victor.  He stayed true to the end.  He didn’t surrender.    In Bible times crowns were given to the victors.  We learn that from I Corinthians 9:24-25.  “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.   And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” In Revelation 2:10  those who give their life for the cause of Christ are promised a crown.  “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

A noticeable difference between spiritual and carnal weapons is that carnal weapons are destructive and the spiritual are constructive.  In Galatians chapter five we find a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.  “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. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,    meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  How could anyone do harm to others by practicing the fruit of the Spirit?  It isn’t hard to see how harm could be done by means of the works of the flesh.

More than once the Apostle Paul was attacked by his enemies.  They used carnal weapons.  In II Corinthians 10:10 we see how they criticized him.  “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” Most likely they were trying to put Paul down and gain merit for themselves.  It is never commendable to gain favor with others at the expense of someone else.  Politicians do it all the time, but that doesn’t make it right.

It is unfortunate that carnal believers sometimes resort to carnal weapons when they are attacked.  Their reaction is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  A better and proper way to respond is to use the fruit of the Spirit. If we do, those who know us will defend us.

Instead of being quick to pull out your sword and do battle with carnal weapons, it is better to let your testimony be your defense.  In I Corinthians chapter six Paul told the Corinthian Christians that they were doing wrong by taking their fellow Christians to court.  He asked, “Why do ye not rather take wrong?  Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?”  (I Corinthians 6:7)

At times we may be called upon to face enemies that are so overcome by sin and empowered by Satan that they will not respect gentleness, meekness or love.  Even then we are not justified in using carnal weapons.  Romans 12:21 says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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November 25, 2013


            If your doctor says, “This study shows that you have a tumor.  We need to do a biopsy to see if it cancerous.” Suppose you respond by saying, “No, I’m not in a hurry.  Perhaps some time next year I’ll come in for that.” That’s indifference.  It is a failure to take seriously something that could have serious consequences.

It is alarming when people of the world are indifferent to the seriousness of their spiritual condition.  When someone explains to them that They are condemned to hell because of their sins, but that Jesus gave his life on the cross in a cruel death so they can have forgiveness for their sins, a new abundant life, and the assurance of a home in heaven if they receive Christ as their Savior, one would think they would say, “Yes, I want that.” Unfortunately they often say, “No not now, perhaps some time later.  Give me time to think about it.” That too is indifference.

Salvation from the eternal condemnation of God requires faith.  It isn’t something that can be proven scientifically.  Most unsaved people can look back on their past life and say, “I haven’t been all that bad.  Surely God will be satisfied with me.” They judge by the world’s standards, not by God’s

Spiritual indifference stems from a lack of faith in God’s Word, the Bible.  People don’t take it seriously.  They call it “the good book” and give it lip service.  For the most part, for them, it’s just another book.  For those who are in hell, it’s too late to take God’s Word seriously   Over and over they must be saying to themselves, “What a fool I was for being indifferent to the written revelation of God.”

By faith we must accept the Bible as divine revelation and absolute truth.  Apart from faith, fulfilled prophecy gives us much reason to believe that the Bible is divine revelation.  Another confirmation that the Bible is divine revelation is the fact that those who take heed to its teaching manifest a high level of moral purity and integrity.

The promise of eternal life is not the only thing that indifferent people miss.  They also miss the abundant life that Jesus offers to those who follow him.  John 10:10 says “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  That is more than enough of that which makes life worth living. They also miss the advantage of fellowship with God’s people and with God.  I John 1:1-4 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;   (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)    That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”

The unsaved aren’t the only ones who are guilty of being indifferent.  Many of God’s people stop short of enjoying the full blessing of being an obedient child of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,   Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Don’t be indifferent to all the good things God has placed at your disposal.  You may think you are enjoying life.  Maybe you are.  I can’t be a judge of that.  I’m convinced, however, that you could be enjoying life much more if you were a child of God and an active member of a good Bible teaching church.

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Abused Women

September 14, 2013




Abused Women

            Women are God’s gift to men.  In Genesis 2:18 God said, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  Then, in verses 21-22, we read that God took one of Adam’s ribs and made him a woman.  If a man can be happy without a wife, that’s fine.  Most men can’t.  Men should be grateful to God for their wives.  They add a very essential dimension to their lives.

Men who abuse their wives are hypocrites.  To win her, they didn’t spare words in telling her how precious she was and how much they loved her.  Unfortunately, sometime after the wedding, they start to violate their sacred trust by treating her as if she were a beast of burden to be used and abused.

I Peter 3:7 tells us some things that men need to know about women.  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  Men are to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge.”  Women are often abused because men are ignorant of a woman’s nature.  She is the “weaker vessel.”  Not only is she weaker physically, she is also weaker emotionally.  She can more easily be hurt by what you say or don’t say.  She needs affection.  Let her know how much you love and appreciate her.  Find ways of showing her that you love her.  Don’t ever give her reason for doubting your love for her.

Men, you and your wives are also “heirs together of the grace of life.” That means that you share life together.  There is satisfaction and consolation in sharing our joys and sorrows with one another.  There may be things you enjoy doing that she doesn’t enjoy.  There will be things she enjoys doing that you don’t enjoy.  You need to grant one another the privilege of doing those things unless they are hurtful or immoral.

Separation or divorce is a traumatic experience, both to men and women.  Women may be left with the feeling that they have some defect that makes them incapable of fulfilling their role as a woman.  Men may feel like they have been a failure in being what a man was meant to be.  Before a divorce is even considered, couples should seek counsel from a competent marriage counselor.  The ideal counselor is a wise, compassionate pastor who knows how to use the Bible to counsel married couples.  When there are marriage problems, nearly always there is fault on the part of both.  One may be more at fault than the other.

To be honest, we must face the fact that there are women who suffer because of defects in their personality and or behavior.  An increasing number of women are suffering because they accepted the invitation of a man who said, “Come and live with me.” Any woman who forgoes the solemnity and formality of a wedding ceremony is asking for trouble.  A man can promise to give you love and supply all your needs but, if he isn’t willing to make those promises in public by reciting the wedding vows in the hearing of your friends and relatives, there is reason to question his sincerity.  A marriage, done in God’s way, will be accompanied by God’s blessing.

At times men are also abused by their wives.  Proverbs 27:15 says, “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”  A wise man should be able to detect personality defects in a woman before he marries her.  Many men, either aren’t wise, or they are blinded by love.

Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Your wife isn’t to be used and abused.  She is to be loved and cherished.  If you give her the love and affection she deserves, you may be able to help her overcome some of her defects.  You also need to be attentive and receptive when she points out your defects.  Making those corrections can enhance; perhaps even save your marriage.

In our culture people are paid lucrative salaries for doing research in search of solutions to health problems.  That is well and good, but more and more people are suffering emotionally and little   is being said or written about it.  Perhaps people fear being criticized if they touch on moral issues.  The abuse that women suffer is nearly always because of immorality.  It will only get worse if the cause of the problem is ignored.

Our anti God, egotistical society is creating insurmountable emotional problems.  Women are not the only ones who are suffering.  A return to biblical standards would solve a multitude of problems.  God’s way is best for you and for our society.

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The Christian Under The Yoke Of Christ

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Many object to the thought of being under subjection.  They have no objection to what Christ said in John 8:36.  “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” It’s hard to understand how we can be free and, at the same time, be under the yoke of Christ.

In Bible times a yoke was a piece of wood cut to fit over the necks of oxen so they could be used to pull a wagon or a plow.  It enabled the owner of the oxen to take control of them and use them to serve him.  Slavery is like a yoke.  Normally a yoke wasn’t easy to get out from under or to get free from.

Jesus invites us to submit to his yoke.  He says that his yoke is easy and light.  It will be, if we accept it voluntarily and as an act of love.  In this article we will consider what is meant by bearing the yoke of Christ.

Jesus invitation is extended to those who labor and are heavy laden.  The truth is that our work and daily responsibilities leave us with a burden to bear.  The forgiveness of God delivers the sinner from the weight of sin.  In Proverbs 13:15 we read that “The way of the transgressor is hard.”

The first followers of Jesus had learned from their parents the traditions of Judaism.  Under Jesus leadership they had to make some big changes in their thinking.  They had to accept a different concept of many things.  It was a slow process.  When Jesus went back to heaven they still had much to learn.    The Holy Spirit became   their teacher.   John 14:26 says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

We must submit our minds to the yoke of Christ.  Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” That requires an act of the mind.  The ancient farmer had to teach his oxen how to bear the yoke.  He did that by yoking a new ox with one that had already learned.  In the same way, a new believer needs to learn from those who have been bearing the yoke for some time.

Submitting our minds to the yoke of Christ is something that many aren’t willing to do.  It’s sad that many are willing to let their minds soak up what they hear on the radio and the television, but they find it hard to discipline themselves to read the Bible every day and attend church regularly.  It seems that few comprehend what it is to meditate on God’s word.  We have a great need for more men and women who are willing to discipline themselves to really study the Bible.  The mind under the yoke of Christ is capable of taking in and understanding divine revelation.  Those who do so are capable of seeing things from a divine point of View.  I Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Our will must also be under the yoke of Christ.  Jesus gave us an example of what is meant by that when he said “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Obedience is often loathsome to modern men.  They want to be free to do as they please.  When we put ourselves under the yoke of Christ,  it needs to be an act of the will.  Of our own free choice we must choose to follow him.  We do that, knowing that he is our all wise and loving Savior and that he has a plan for our life that far surpasses anything we could chose with our limited mental faculties.

Our obedience needs to flow from the love and respect we have for Jesus.  We can learn from the example of Simon Peter that we read about in Luke 5:1-9.  “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.    And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.    Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.    And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.    And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.    For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.”  Peter was willing to put his fishing vessel at the disposition of Christ.  When Jesus commanded him to launch out into the deep and let down his nets he could have said, “Look Jesus; I’m a professional fisherman.  What do you know about fishing?”  But no, he said, “At they word I will let down the net.”


At the last supper Jesus said to his disciples “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13).  We can’t call him Lord and master unless we are under his yoke.  Those who are under the yoke of Christ never live a wasted life.  It never leads them to shame and disgrace.  If we are under the yoke of Christ, he can use us to be an asset to those around us; not a burden.  You need to be under his yoke.