An Argentine Funeral

April 20, 2013

 

 

AN ARGENTINE FUNERAL

The car was in the garage.  The mechanic said it needed a new carburetor.  I had planned to take the moped out the next morning to shop around to get a carburetor at the best price. It was raining the next morning so I started out with my umbrella.  When I got to the door I saw the form of a man on the other side of the glass door.  I thought he was just standing there to get out of the rain but I recognized him when I opened the door. He had come to our church a number of times.  I ask him what he was doing in our neighborhood. He told me the sad news.  He said, “my brother-in-law died suddenly last night.  His brother-in-law’s wife, Rose, was a member of our church.  He was only 28 years old.  He died of a heart attack.

Rose only lived about 9 blocks from our house.  She was never a very stable Christian. She hadn’t been coming very faithfully recently.  She appeared to be yielding to the influence of her Pentecostal sister.  She said her husband wouldn’t let her come any more.  We knew they had been having some marital problems.  One weekend she had gone to her sister’s house because things were so bad at home.  She said her husband told her she would have to choose between him or the church.  It appeared as though she chose to keep peace at home.  Her husband, Roger, had come to our church a number of times. One Sunday he made a profession of salvation with our deacon, Juan Carlos.  We never saw much to convince us that it was genuine.  He finally quite coming and went back to living like a typical secular man.

I told the man at the door that I would send Margaret over to Rose’s house right away while I went out to look for a carburetor so we could get the car fixed as soon as possible. It was noon when I got back with the car.  Margaret said Rose was doing as well as could be expected.  Two of her sisters were there with her. Rose told her that Roger came home from work about 11:00 the night before.  He gave the children a kiss and they went to bed.  He sat down to eat his supper.  There at the table he said he felt terrible and collapsed.  She sent her oldest son running to her sister’s house who lived about 3 blocks away.  A neighbor, who is a fireman, came and gave Roger artificial respiration.  He showed some signs of reviving but then it was all in vain.  A neighbor took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Rose wanted to have the funeral at the house which is a very common practice there.

After dinner Margaret and I went over to the house.  It had rained hard so we had to leave the car four blocks away and walk in.  The body had already been brought to the house. All the furniture and appliances had been moved out of the kitchen-dining room to make room for it. Rose was lying in bed. A lady from our church, who came with us, sat at her side to comfort her. After a time I went back to see that the car was alright. When  I  got back they  said Rose was having nervous  attacks  and  they wanted  to  take her  to the  doctor.  Her brother-in-law, who was a policeman, took her outside and he and I started to work with her. We made her bend over and sit up a number of times. Often we had to hold her mouth open to make her breath though her mouth. The women put perfume under her nose. The big policeman slapped her face to bring her back to her senses. There was no doctor or medical facility in the neighborhood. Juan Carlos, our deacon arrived about 2:30. He took the keys to our car to go look for a doctor. We kept struggling with Rose. Once, in a brief calm moment, I prayed with her and gave her some words of encouragement. In a little while she calmed down and went to sleep. When the doctor arrived he prescribed a tranquilizer for her.

Rose’s children had been taken to a neighbor’s house. It was suggested that someone ought to bring the children to see the body and explain to them what was happening. The lady from our church went   to get   the children.     The women refused to let her take them. She said, “It’s not right to make them see a terrible thing like that.” There was more discussion about what should be done. Other relatives went to get them too and came back defeated. The children didn’t want to come. When Juan Carlos arrived he went over to  talk to them too but he didn’t succeed either. We decided to leave about 7:00. As we left   we saw the neighbor lady crossing the yard with the children taking them over to Rose’s house.      We went and offered to go with them. I picked up Rosalia, the middle girl, and carried her to the house. As we started to enter the house she put out her hands so we couldn’t   go through the door.  I talked to her a little bit and on the second try she made no   resistance. I stood holding her at the side of her daddy’s casket.  I explained to her   that her daddy wouldn’t be with them any more but her mother would.  After that the   children stayed at the house and were more content.

 

We went back home at 7:30 with intentions of returning at 9:30 or 10:00 that night with more from the church who we thought would want to come.  Our deacon dropped us off at our house and took the car to his house to bring people from the church that night.  About 9:00 it started raining hard.  At 10:00 they arrived at our house in the rain.  When we left the highway and started up the last 8 blocks of paved street we had to go through 4 blocks that were under water 1-2 feet deep.  When we arrived they said Rose was asleep.  We didn’t awaken her.  We stayed about an hour. Whi1e there, I entertained the children by shining the flashlight on the big toads that were hopping around in the water standing in the front yard.  Then it started raining hard again so we had to go back inside again.  When it let up a little, we put on our rain gear and walked 4 blocks through the mud to where we left the car.

As we started out to the highway we met a man walking up the street who shouted as we went by, “you won’t get through.”  We didn’t take his words very seriously.  As we started into the flooded street the water got deeper and deeper.  I noticed that it was coming in under the doors because my feet were in water.  About that time one of the women in the back seat said, “it’s getting up to the seats.  I noticed too that my tail bone was getting awful damp. Then the car stopped about 50 feet from the highway. Juan Carlos and I got out in water up to our waists and started pushing the car.  We got it out of the deepest water but the grade up to the highway was so steep that we couldn’t go any farther.  The women got out and pushed too. We got it up on the highway. We all wondered if it would ever start again.  I thought it would be best to try starting it by pushing it because I thought the starter would be wet.  After two tries and no success, Juan Carlos tried the starter and it started.  We all said “thank you Lord” and got back in on the soaking wet seats and started home. We took them home as far as we could.  The streets were flooded so they had to walk the rest of the way.  Margaret and I scooped water out of the car with a dustpan when we got home.   The next morning I put an electric heater in the car to try to dry it out a little bit.  That night I saw that a little bit was all I had dried it out.  The next morning I took the seats all out of it and took up the floor mat to get it dried out.

On Wednesday afternoon the body was to be taken to the cemetery.  We couldn’t take the car so Margaret and I went to Roses house on the bus. We were told they would come to get the body at 2:30 or 3:30.  When we got there the funeral cars were already assembled along the pavement and they were walking in to get the body.  Rose was hysterical again when we got there.  She wasn’t in any condition for a final viewing of the body.  The odor from the body was getting strong so it was well that they didn’t wait any longer.  Since they don’t embalm the bodies there the law stipulates that they should be buried in 24 hours after death.  This one had already gone about 36 hours.

The big policeman and I took over again to get Rose straightened out.  It took more perfume, more slaps in the face and soda water sprayed in her face to get her to come back to her senses.  We knew she would have to walk the 4 blocks out to the pavement.  I was tempted to suggest that someone stay at the house with her but I knew their culture demanded that she go.  When the men from the funeral home had the casket covered they ask for some of the men to volunteer to carry it out to the pavement.  Three men on each side of it started the solemn procession up the street.  Some carried wreaths of flowers.  Others carried the stand the casket was setting on and the big electric candles they had around the casket.  Rose still sat in a chair in the back yard with the policeman and me on either side of her.  Her sisters and relatives surrounded us, encouraging her to make the trip.  We got her to her feet and started out again with the policeman and me on either side of her.  I suggested that someone bring a chair to sit her down in case she collapsed before we got there but no one took my suggestion.  About half way to the pavement a neighbor man took my place at her side.  When we got her in a funeral car Margaret and I had to think about how we would get to the cemetery. They had funeral cars for the immediate family.  The only way to go was on the bus.  We were afraid we wouldn’t get there in time.  The Lord was with us.  A bus came by just as the funeral procession left. We took that one to the highway and got off to take the second bus.

 

Fortunately the second bus had a boy on it that was injured.  He was bleeding from an open wound in his side The bus driver was in a hurry to get him to a clinic.  He didn’t even stop for one stop light.  We soon passed the funeral procession.  Then we got off to take a third bus to get to the cemetery.    The funeral procession entered the gate of the cemetary just as we got there.  We followed them to the grave site.  Rose stood at the back of the hearse while we waited for men to finish digging the shallow grave.  When it came time to take the casket out and carry it to the grave Rose started to collapse. Margaret was standing at her side.  She called for help.  Some of the men rushed to her side.  They drug her to the side of the street and sat her down on the curb.  The policeman was with her again.  I was holding the hand of her daughter to consol her and I thought I better stay at her side.  The men waited a few minutes before closing the grave to see if Rose would get control of herself to come and watch. After a short time they went ahead and closed it and they got Rose to her feet and took her back to the funeral car.  Margaret went back to the house to see if she could be of any help to Rose.  When she got there the family had already decided they would have to take her to the doctor.  They got a neighbor to take her and Margaret went back home.

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

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Authority In The Home

April 10, 2013

Authority In The Home

            A job transfer once brought a family to a city where they were staying in a hotel while they looked for a house in the city.  An employee in the hotel made acquaintance with the family and knew why they were there.  One evening she was talking to the little girl in the family.  She said to her, “I’m praying that God will help your parents find a home here in our city.” The little girl responded by saying, “Oh we have a home.  We just need a house to put it in.”  Yes, a home needs a house to occupy.

A home is a little kingdom.  For that reason, there needs to be some form of government or authority.  A home where there is no authority is often in a constant state of chaos.  The Bible mentions that there were times when “everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 is an example. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  Laws are a good thing as long as they are right and just.  They help to maintain harmony and tranquility.  That’s why authority is a necessary ingredient for a happy home.

It is the plan of God that fathers be the authority figures in homes.  Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” This is a subject that should be discussed and agreed upon by couples before they repeat their wedding vows.  Husbands must be willing to take the leadership, and wives must be willing to submit to his leadership.  I Timothy 3:1-7 gives us the qualifications for a bishop (pastor).  It says he must rule well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.  A man doesn’t qualify for being a pastor if he doesn’t meet these standards, but I see no reason why all men shouldn’t strive to meet these standards.

Men, you need to be the authority in your home.  That doesn’t give you license to be a little dictator.  You must do it with love.  In John 13:34, God commands us to love one another.  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The commandment is repeated in I John 3:23.  “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”  Certainly our first obligation should be to our family.

I Timothy 5:8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”  What a man should provide for his house isn’t just material needs.  It should also include love and authority.

Wives also are commanded to love.  In Titus 2:3-4 the aged women are told that they should teach the younger women “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.” They are also told to submit to their husbands.  “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22).  Ephesians 5:28-29 says, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.   For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” If men love their wives that way, their wives shouldn’t have any problem in submitting to them.

Unfortunately, many men are negligent in fulfilling their responsibility.  In the day when they stand to give account before God, they will most certainly be judged for their failure in providing for their wife and family.  We must be realistic.  We can’t lay all the blame on the men.  There are women who have created havoc in their homes because they refused to take their proper place in the home.

Because of the failure of men, some women have had to take the sole responsibility of raising their children.  I feel inadequate to give suggestions or advice about how a woman is to fulfill that task.  I would welcome articles from single mothers who have succeeded in raising your children without the help of a man.  Such women are certainly to be commended.

Children need to know where their limits are.  Parents need to be consistent in setting those limits.  Children need to be taught to obey the rules.  If not, they won’t respect authority when they get older.  Many criminals come from homes where there was no authority.  You are failing your children if you don’t have rules in your home, and teach your children to obey them.  Don’t let your home be one that doesn’t provide authority.  It is one of the essential ingredients of a happy home.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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Don’t Despair.  Somebody Loves You

            Somebody loves you.  That’s what I would tell you if I found you on a bridge railing contemplating a plunge into the water to end it all.  If you are one of those young people who   thinks, “I’m not good for anything,  nobody loves me,  nobody cares” please read this article.  If, after reading the article, you still aren’t convinced that somebody loves you, then read it again.  I’m not lying to you.  It’s true.  Somebody loves you.

I can understand how you may have come to the point of desperation that leaves you contemplating suicide.  In the past few years suicide rates, especially among young people, have escalated. Back in 1988 Fletcher A Brothers wrote a book entitled  Teenager, Someone Does Care.  In his book he wrote “Every 21 minutes a teenager commits suicide in America.” It’s lamentable that few are seeking an explanation for these sad statistics.  I believe it’s because our youth are victims of the culture in which we live.

The teaching of evolution has left young people with an inadequate explanation for life.  If, as we are told, life began millions of years ago when some green slime by chance began to evolve, then there is no reason for life.  It all began by chance.  They tell us that only the fittest survive.  If you don’t have reason to believe that you are among the fittest, then there is no future for you.  Everything changes if you believe that God created everything with a purpose and plan.

Multitudes of young people feel they are just a burden to their parents.  Many are left with a terrible emotional scar because their parents separated, or it could be that mom and dad are involved in their careers and other pursuits and have little time for their children.  Their home is filled with bickering and fighting, and little love.

Young people are left with a tremendous void in their life, and they are seeking to fill it.  It’s a void that should be filled with the assurance that they have worth and are loved by those around them.  When young people don’t have that assurance, they seek to fill the void by other means.  Some hope to fill the void by athletic achievement.  If they don’t succeed in that they try   something else.  It may be academic achievement.  If they fail in that, they may seek mutual admiration in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.  If that fails they may try alcohol or drugs.  That leads to a dead end street.

Some young people, after being hurt again and again by those around them, choose to isolate themselves from society and seek satisfaction by playing computer games.  They would like to take revenge on those who have hurt them, but they know what the consequences would be.  By means of computer games they can unleash vengeance and violence on people who only exist on the computer monitor.  That fills their minds with hatred and may explain the deranged minds of young people who go out and commit mass murder. Then they end it all by shooting themselves so they won’t have to face the consequences.

You may find yourself on a dead end street, thinking there is no reason for turning back into the no win succession of defeats.  When I was a young person I never contemplated suicide, but I did struggle in search of a reason for life.  I didn’t feel like I had an adequate reason for living.  That all changed my first year in college.  There I met some young people who introduced me to someone who made a dramatic change in my life.  That person was none other than God himself.  That’s been over 50 years now and I have never had reason to doubt his presence with me or his love for me.

Young man, young lady, it may be that no one loves you because of your personality defects.   Perhaps it’s not all your fault, but it makes it hard for people to love you.  God will accept you the way you are.  No matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

If you come to  God, and become a child of his, you can claim the promises he makes to his own.  II Peter 1:4 says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

You need to come to God humbly in prayer, confessing that you are a sinner, and asking for his forgiveness and his mercy. You need to accept Christ’s sacrifice for your sins.  John 1:12 says you can become a child of God.  “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.”  In the Bible that’s also called salvation.  Romans 10:9 says, “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.”

God does great things for his own.  He will stay with you.  Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

God will take you as you are, but he isn’t going to be content to leave you the way you are.  Colossians 1:21-22 says, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” He wants to clean you up and make you a vessel he can use for his gory. Perhaps someday he could use you to rescue someone on the verge of taking his life. He will give your worth.  He will give you victory in your life.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  You need to pray like David of old.  We read one of his prayers in Psalm 139:23-24.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:   And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  When God makes you aware of sin in your life you need to confess it.  I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   You will need the strength and encouragement of a good church.  People there will love and accept you.

My friend, if you are thinking about suicide you need to think again.  It’s not an option.  You may think it’s a way out, but the truth is it’s a way into something much worse than where you find yourself now.  The Bible speaks of an eternal hell. Revelation 20:13-14 says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.   And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”  No one needs to go there because God has provided forgiveness and deliverance through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Things To Put Away

November 21, 2012

Things To Put Away

            In Ephesians 4:31-32 the Apostle Paul makes mention of some things we need to put away.  “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.”  To keep our house organized there are often things we need to put away.  It’s good to have our life organized.  To do that there are also things we need to put away.

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul gives a more extended list of things that need to be put away.  There he calls them “the works of the flesh.”  Satan is subtle and often finds ways of inserting these things into our life without us realizing it.  They may start as an attitude.  They are things that can ruin our testim0ny and disqualify us from being used of God.  For that reason they are things that should be put away once and for ever

This is in the form of a command.  It’s something God tells us to do.  When God gives us a command it’s not just a suggestion.  We should take it as though he is saying “Do It.”  It takes a deliberate act to root these things out of our life.  It’s like pulling weeds out of our garden.  Note also that the inserted the little word “all.”  None of them deserve to have a part in our life.

The first thing he mentions is bitterness.  Bitterness does damage to our lives and hurts our relationship with others.  Hebrews 12:15 makes mention of a “root of bitterness.”  There it says it can trouble us.  It says it springs up.  It may be that we are not aware of having it.  Even if we are aware of it, we are inclined to think, “I have reason for thinking this way about him or her.”  Roots go down deep and spread out.  They tend to permeate our life.

Bitterness often manifests itself by a critical spirit.  We are blinded to the good in others, but we are quick to see their faults.  Young people sometimes have bitterness towards their parents because they won’t let them do something.  If others in the family take the side of their parents, they are bitter towards them also.

Bitterness is something that can do damage in a church.  A bitter spirit can be passed on to others.  If you are bitter, keep it to yourself, or better yet, put it away.  Without a doubt, we are better off without bitterness.

We also need to put away wrath and anger.  These are two words with a similar meaning so we will deal with both at the same time.  Wrath is the stronger of the two words.  It is violent or unrestrained anger.  It is said of some that they have a short fuse.  In other words, it doesn’t take much to make them angry.  When we know that someone is that way we feel uneasy being around them.

When we are angry we often do foolish things.  We hurt others by what we say and do.  There is a satisfaction that comes when we take our anger out on someone.  It’s never a prudent way to solve a problem.

According to Ephesians 4:26, there may be a time for being angry, but it must be controlled.  “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Anger may stem from injustice that is done.  We are motivated to fight against it.  In every case we need to know how to react and keep our spirit under control.  It’s possible to be angry and keep it within.  That may be better than letting it out, but it can be detrimental if we let it go on festering within.  If the anger is toward a person or persons it’s best to forgive and forget, and leave vengeance with God.

In II Samuel chapters 15 and 16 we read of severe trials that King David was going through.  His son had stolen the kingdom from him and he was forced to flee.  When he was leavingJerusalema man by the name of Shimei came out and cursed him.  He called him “a bloody man of Belial.”  David showed a noble spirit in II Samuel 16:10 when he said, “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah?  So let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, curse David.”

The word “malice” means depravity or malignity.  It’s a word that covers wickedness in general.

In the Bible, when God tells us to put off something, he almost immediately tells us to put on something.  That’s the case here too.  In verse 32 he says “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  The things we are to put away should never characterize the child of God, but those mentioned in verse 32 should always be found in our life.  If we are kind to one another, we will also be tenderhearted and forgiving.

It takes effort on our part to put away the things mentioned in verse 31 and to add those mentioned in verse 32.  Don’t be lazy and indifferent.  With God’s help you can do what needs to be done.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

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Believers In Bondage

August 17, 2012

Believers In Bondage

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another”  (Galatians 5:1,13).

It’s unfortunate that there are many believers who are in bondage.  Christ has made us free.  In this article we are going to examine some of the misunderstandings that leave some believers in bondage.

Some are not 100% convinced that salvation is 100% by the grace of God.  Perhaps they are familiar with Ephesians 2:8-9, but they still think “There must be something I have to do.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.” Some have been taught that salvation is by grace, but that they can lose it if they don’t do their part.  If one thinks that way, he can’t rest completely in the finished work of Christ.  He lives in bondage, fearing that he may lose his salvation.

To be honest, there are verses in the Bible that could give one reason to think he could lose his salvation.  They must be interpreted in the light of the verses that give us assurance that salvation is all by the grace of God, and not by human merit.  We are going to look at two verses that make some think they need to contribute to their salvation.

Some ask, “Didn’t even the Apostle Paul think he could lose his salvation?” They take us to I Corinthians 9:27 where Paul wrote “Lest I myself should be a castaway.”  Paul’s fear was not that of losing his salvation, but rather that of not being able to go on preaching.  There are servants of God who have had to leave the ministry because they have done something that left a bad stain on their character.  In Romans 8:38-39 Paul wrote “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,   Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Some cite Philippians 2:12 which says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Most commentators tell us that Paul meant we should enjoy and put into practice all that is included in our salvation.  Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin.  After salvation we can live a fruitful life.  Romans 6:18,22 says “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

Some people look for a means of measuring their spirituality.  There is a satisfaction in adding up our virtues.  That way we can think “I’m really not that bad.  Look at all the good I have done.”  No one says we shouldn’t do good works.  I tell people, “That’s what you owe to your fellow men.” Ephesians 2:10 tells us that one reason why God saves us is that we might do good works.  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  When we add up our good works we are in danger of being proud of what we have done.  The Apostle Paul said “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). Jesus said in Matthew 6:3 that we shouldn’t let our left hand know what our right hand does.

Some Christians like to deny themselves.  That gives them a feeling of superiority.  If we do our good deeds to be seen of men, we already have our reward.  In Matthew 6:1-2 Jesus said, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.   Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” Self denial, for some, is a great sacrifice because they have their eyes and heart too much in the things of this world.  To them, the denial of worldly pleasures is for those who have reached a high level of spirituality.  The desire of the obedient Christian is to please God.  Often he isn’t conscious of making sacrifices.  He can honestly say “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

The Christian life doesn’t consist of restrictions and good works.  It’s a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.  Be not in bondage, thinking you have to do your part. Libertydoesn’t mean freedom to do as you please.  That’s why I included verse 13 at the beginning.  Please read it again.  Salvation is not something we work to keep, but something to be enjoyed.  When we get to Heaven we will enjoy the full measure of all that is included in it.

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hidden Gospel

August 11, 2012

The Hidden Gospel

     “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:   In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).  The word “gospel” means good news.  It’s unfortunate when good news is hidden.  It should be something we want everyone to know about.

In II Kings 7:1-15 we read the thrilling story of those four lepers that made two wise decisions.  They were living just outside the city of Samaria. (Lepers had to be separated from the rest of the people.)  The city, at that time, was surrounded by the Syrian army.  People in the city were dying of starvation.  The lepers knew that it was just a question of time before they too would die.  These lepers said to themselves, “Why sit we here until we die?    If we say, we will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”  That was their first wise decision.  When night fell they went down to the Syrian camp.  What a surprise it was to them to find that the camp had been abandoned.  The Bible says that God made the Syrian army hear what sounded to them like an approaching army.  They left everything and fled.  The lepers found that an abundance of food had been left behind.  They filled their empty stomachs.  Then they made the second wise decision.  One of them said “We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come that we may go and tell the king’s household.”  We too should think “We do not well if we leave the gospel hidden.”

Satan has many ways of blinding people’s minds.  He is a great deceiver.  John 8:44 says “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”  He has many convinced that their entrance into heaven after death depends on the good deeds they have done.  They compare themselves with those around them and say to themselves, “I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.  I’m better than most of the people around me.”

Satan has access to our minds and many times we aren’t aware of it.  He puts thoughts in our minds.  Many people give him almost direct access to their minds by means of the television programs they watch, the radio programs they listen to and by what they read.  Indirectly he blinds people’s minds by making them think that it can’t be that the majority are deceived.  Therefore, they follow the course of this world.  “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).

Just two small coins held in front of your eyes can blind you from the light of the sun.  Satan knows that.  Therefore he tempts people to put their eyes on the things of this world.  That way the light of the glorious gospel of Christ is diminished.   This way they  can’t see what the gospel can do for them.  Even the well being of those around them is less important.  Their own well being is all that matters

When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian Christians, the gospel was still hidden to a great part of the world.  It was something new.  The message hadn’t gotten out very far.  Only the Jews and a few of the nations around Israel had heard the gospel.  Satan wanted to keep it that way.  However, thanks to God, the gospel message has reached to the ends of the earth.  Satan still hasn’t given up.

God uses his people to spread the gospel.  If it is to reach the jungles of Africa and South America, someone has to take it there.  Someone has to take it to the university campuses.  Someone has to take it to the population centers as well as the rural areas

Satan does all he can to hinder young men and women from hearing the call to go out as missionaries.  Because of the lack of missionaries the gospel remains hidden to many in this world.  If young people feel called, Satan puts people around them to discourage them.  Many times they are their own relatives and friends.  Even their Christian friends are often unwilling to help by praying and giving.

When there is a good church, with a vibrant Christian testimony, in an area Satan tempts some in that church to be a bad testimony.  People are quick to grab that as an excuse for not accepting Christ as their Savior.  Christian, by your bad testimony, you can hide the gospel from some.  Have you ever thought of that?

We need to be occupied in exposing what Satan is trying to hide.  The gospel is still hidden to people all around us.  By our prayers, our witness, and our giving we can make the gospel known.  What are you doing to take the gospel out of hiding?  Many are content to sit back and do nothing.  One of the reasons why God saved you is so he could use you to help others see their need of the glorious gospel of Christ.  Some day we will have to give an account to God for what we have done in this life.  Will God be able to say to you “Well done, thou good and faithful servant….enter thou into the joy of thy Lord?”(Matthew 25:21).

 

 

 

 

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The Call Of God

July 3, 2012

Don’t Miss The Call

It’s unfortunate that so many are deaf to the call of God.  They miss out on the best things in life and the hope of a glorious future.  In the Old Testament book of Isaiah we read about God’s call in chapter 55.  The chapter begins with the words “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.   Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.   Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:1-3).  If we skip down to verses 6-11 we read these words “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.   For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Many times people ask, “Where is God?”  These verses tell us that he is near and that he can be found.  To be found he must be sought with a sincere heart.  In the New Testament also we find the promise “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”  (Mathew 7:7).

We must seek him in humility.  We need to recognize our need and that only God can help us.  There needs to come a time when you realize that you have been a failure in life because you have gone your own way and not God’s way.  Your way of thinking hasn’t taken into consideration what God says.  Let’s face it, we will never find God if we go on living and thinking our way.

Isaiah 55:6 says “he may be found.” It also says “while he may be found.” There is a time when he may be found.  Tomorrow may be too late.  Every time you turn a deaf ear to the voice of God the volume goes down a little.   God says; come come come come come come come come  come come come come.

Can’t you see that now is the time to seek God?  He may be found now, but you don’t have any assurance of finding him tomorrow.  God is near.  If you are sincere in seeking him; but you’re not sure how, there are those who would be glad to help you.  Contact the source of this little article.  If you don’t know the source, go to a good Bible preaching church and ask for help.  You can just go to God in prayer on your own and ask him to forgive your sins and receive you as one of his own.  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:”

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Confusion

June 27, 2012

Confusion

     Many young people today are confused about the real nature of Christianity.  They are rejecting the outward manifestations of Christianity without knowing its inward reality.  Their reasons for rejecting Christianity seem to them to be legitimate.  They are saying things like: “Most Christians feel like they have to be perfect all the time.”  “Christianity is just a lot of negative rules against drinking, smoking, sex and materialism.”  “It’s boring to spend time in church where you can’t talk to others and where they scold us if we text messages to our friends during what they call a ‘worship service’.”

When I hear such superficial excuses I ask myself, “Where are they coming from?”  Could it be that their main objection to church is that it cuts down on the time they have to watch TV or play computer games?  Are they just living for fun and games without giving any serious consideration to the real issues of life?  What would happen in the event of an electro-magnetic attack that wiped out everything electronic?  It would make a serious problem for all of us, but it would devastate most of our young people.  No doubt most young people would say, “I won’t worry about that problem until it happens.”

The concept of Christianity that altogether too many people have is that it’s just a life style.  It’s a list of does and don’ts.  The truth is that Christianity is a wonderful, exciting satisfying personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  That relationship changes our life style.  If we try to adapt to the life style without the relationship it’s nothing more than an empty boring religion.  Young people are judging Christianity by looking at the life style without taking into consideration the relationship.

Could it be that we are failing to communicate the essence of what Christianity is all about?  Genuine Christianity gives us purpose for living.  It gives direction and meaning to life.  It gives fortitude and strength to resist temptation.  It gives consolation in times of tribulation.

The modern young people’s objections to Christianity are extremely superficial to the genuine |Christian.  I have been around Christians for over 50 years and I don’t recall ever meeting one who thought he had to be perfect all the time.  They aren’t limited by a set of rules.  Knowing that sin has undesirable consequences has some impact on them, but, for the most part, they live to please God.  They go to church regularly because they have a hunger for a deeper knowledge of the Bible.  Another reason they have for attending church is because they enjoy being with other Christians.  The church, for them, is like another family that meets their needs.

There is a movement today that promotes a personal Christianity.  They put the emphasis on the relationship with   Jesus Christ, but they reject the church.  In so doing, they are leaving out a very vital element in Biblical Christianity.  God knows that we need what the local church has to offer.  They are also rejecting what the Bible teaches about the church.  The motive behind the movement may very well be that they want to live their life the way they want to without having to answer to anyone.  The local church helps to nurture us and keep us on track.  We need that.  I Timothy 3:15 says “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

What’s your concept of Christianity?  If you haven’t entered into that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then you don’t have genuine Christianity.  It all starts by coming to God as a repentant sinner and asking for his forgiveness and that he accept you as one of his children.  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.”

Maybe you have entered into that relationship but you have let it grow cold.  You don’t need to be saved again.  It’s just a matter of asking God to forgive you and restore unto you the joy of salvation.  Psalm 51:12 says “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit.”

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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Where Are The Apostles?

June 27, 2012

Where are the Apostles?

            Occasionally we hear of men who claim to be apostles.  For those who have a measure of Bible knowledge, a red flag goes up when they hear someone say he is an apostle.

In Revelation 2:2 Jesus recognized that there were false apostles.  “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:”  The Apostle Paul also made mention of false apostles.  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ”  (II Corinthians 11:13).  Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us if some, even in our day, claim to be apostles.  Our response should be that of Paul in calling them “deceitful workers.”

God never intended for there to be more than twelve apostles.  The twelve are mentioned several times in the Bible.  They are mentioned in the following verses: Matthew 10:2, 26:14, Mark 3:14, Acts 1:26 and Revelations 21:14.

We don’t find anything in the New Testament that gives us reason to think that there should be a succession of apostles.  From the words of Peter in Acts 1:21-22, it appears that a requirement for being an apostle was that he be one who had been personally acquainted with Jesus.  Paul also implies the same in I Corinthians 9:1.  He had an encounter with the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road. The word “apostle” means a sent one.  Jesus used the same word in John 20:21 when he said “as my Father hath sent me.”   Those who claim to be apostles may say they are sent of God.  They expect us to take their word for it.

Perhaps some say “But Paul was an apostle.”  Yes, that’s true, but it’s obvious that he was chosen of God and sent to the gentiles.  “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (Acts 9:15).  In the history of the primitive church we find no indication of any attempt to replace Paul.

The Apostle Paul was especially used of God in giving new revelation.  Likewise the false apostles of today claim to be the bearers of new revelation.  One of the best know false apostles of today is C. Peter Wagner.  He says the second apostolic era began in the year 2000.  He says that today’s church should have a hierarchical structure much like the Catholic Church has.  You can learn more about what he believes by going to google on the Internet.  He pretends to have a higher authority than pastors do.

Some men are not content with just being pastors.  They claim to be called of God to be apostles.  Dr. Bill Haman is one of the defenders of this new teaching.  He claims that in the last 50 years God has restored the five ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11.  If he is right, we have a right to ask, “Why didn’t the church have apostles in the previous years?”

These deceitful workers succeed in deceiving people with little Bible knowledge.  It’s unfortunate that there are so many today who claim to be Christians that have little knowledge of the Bible.  If the pastor announces that he is going to be reading from the Psalms, they don’t know whether it’s in the Old Testament or the New Testament.  Such people can be led to believe almost anything.

Where are the apostles?  We left them with the close of the primitive church.  That’s where God left them.  We don’t need them in our day because God’s revelation is

complete.  The only apostle we have today is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Heb. 3:1 says    “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”  When you hear someone claim to be an apostle you should know immediately that he is a phony.

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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