Virtue

May 4, 2021

Virtue

By Russell George

The last article I wrote was on ignorance. I began the article by saying, “There isn’t much good that can be said about ignorance.” To the contrary, there is much good that can be said about virtue. Ignorance is detrimental, whereas virtue is beneficial. My motive for writing about ignorance was to motivate people to replace ignorance with knowledge. My motive for writing about virtue is to motivate you to add it to your life.

The meaning of the Greek word for virtue, used in the Bible, means excellence or praise. It is a strength of character that gives us value. In the book of Proverbs there are two verses that speak of a virtuous woman. Proverbs 12:4 says, A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” In Proverbs 31:10 it says, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband. Her price is far above rubies.

In II Peter 1:3-8 it says that we should add virtue. “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: 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. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If all these other things that are mentioned are evident in our life, we will be a virtuous person. Verse eight says that, “If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful.” The word “barren” means to be idle. In other words, there is nothing we can do because we have nothing to offer. That’s a deplorable situation to be in.

The fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24, enable us to bear fruit. “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.”

Some people are willing to live in this deplorable situation. They run with a crowd that thinks the same way, so they have no shame. Their deplorable situation may have begun because their parents didn’t motivate them or insist that they study and get an education. They drifted along and made little effort to prepare themselves to be useful. Now they are enabled to remain in that deplorable situation because the government is willing to give them a welfare check each month so they can keep body and soul together. They call it an entitlement, so they feel entitled to it. Under no circumstances are they entitled to it.

God wants His people to be virtuous. The more we become the kind of person God wants us to be the more virtuous we will be. He enables us to be virtuous. Verse three, in II Peter one that we quoted earlier, says that God, by His divine power has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. Unsaved people can have some virtues, but Christians can excel in them. God want his people to stand out above all others. He is honored when they do. All we have to do is ask for it and let God work it out in our lives. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

One reason why God saved us is so that we could be used by him. He can’t use us if we don’t have the strength of character to do what he wants us to do. If we try to serve God in our own strength we will fail.

None of us ever have all the virtue that we possibly could. If we let God continue to do His work in our life, He will add more virtue. That enables us to better serve God as well as those around us. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” A good name: that’s virtue. It will do us more good than great riches. It’s doubtful that we will ever have great riches, but with God’s help, we can have virtue. Choose virtue!

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Ignorance

April 15, 2021

Ignorance

By Russell George

Not much good can be said for ignorance. The only advantage might be that if you are accused of doing something wrong you would be justified in saying, “I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do that.” You would still have to suffer the consequences of your wrongdoing so that wipes out the advantage.

Let me caution you against thinking you have arrived because you have learned to dress yourself and tie your shoes. I’m sorry, but you still have a long way to go. All our life we go on gaining knowledge. The harder we work at it the more we learn. I still remember the day my mother took me up the road to the little one room country school to get me registered to start to school in the fall. I’m sure I wasn’t thinking, “Now I’m going to start getting an education.” I just thought that “it’s just something that all children do.” Somewhere in my childhood I began to understand the great advantage I would have by increasing my knowledge.

The ignorant person, that is without an education, is greatly handicapped in life. He is among the poor. He can’t get a job, or if he has a job, it doesn’t pay enough to give him much of a life. He is handicapped for no fault but his own. When people are asked to help the poor, they feel much more inclined to help those who are poor because of something that happened that hinders them from working. They don’t feel much inclined to help one who made no effort to get an education.

It is possible to be educated and yet be ignorant. The Apostle Paul was educated in the school of a man by the name of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), yet he had to confess in I Timothy 1:13 that he was ignorant. “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” It is unfortunate in our day that so many are even graduating from college and yet they are ignorant. They are ignorant because they haven’t been taught to think for themselves. That leaves them at the mercy of others when it comes time to make decisions. People who can’t think for themselves accept what they are told, even though it doesn’t make common sense. For example, many today are willing to believe that we should defund the police and open our borders and let whosoever will come in. Those who can think for themselves can forsee the tragedy that will result from doing this.

We need to be constantly motivated to add knowledge. You can’t get too much of it. It is God’s will that we add knowledge. II Peter 1:5-8 says. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

These things give us worth. “They make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful.” We have something to offer people. The ignorant person is good for nothing. Not the one who has these things. People will look up to us because of what we do for them.

An excellent way to add knowledge is to read. Not only should we read the Bible, but other books written by mature servants of God. They have learned a lot, and they have a lot to teach us. There are lots of good books that can be found in secondhand stores. They can be yours for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them new. Electronic books are also available that you can read on your tablet or smart phone. Used books and electronic books are much cheaper.

No one can say that they have all the knowledge they need. It’s always to our advantage to add more. We need to be familiar with who the good authors are. As you read good books, you will often find quotes from other good authors. Make a note of them and look for books written by them.

If you are motivated to learn, it will be easy to sacrifice time watching television and spend it reading. You will gain much more from it than you will from watching television.

In spite of all the good that can be said for knowledge, there is one precaution that the Bible gives us. It is found in I Corinthians 8:1. “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” “Knowledge puffeth up.” That means it can make us proud. No one ever boasts of his ignorance. Be careful about being proud of your knowledge. God doesn’t want us to have knowledge so we can glory in how much we know. He wants us to have knowledge so that we can better glorify Him.

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Rational Versus Irrational Thinking

By Russell George

Many people aren’t thinking right. If we don’t think right, we don’t do right. Rational thinking is that which stands to reason. Those who think rationally have good reason for thinking the way they do. To the contrary, irrational thinking is thinking that doesn’t stand to reason. In this article we are going to consider some irrational ways that people are thinking.

Perhaps you have heard someone say, or read the words, “If it feels good do it.” Some think that means that if something feels good to them they should have a right to do it. They haven’t stopped to think that they have to put some limits on that. When we are tired after a long day’s work, it sure feels good to go to bed and sleep. There are other things that feel good and are legitimate, but not all things are legitimate just because they make us feel good.

Think of the bad behavior that can and does result from this irrational way of thinking. What’s to stop a man from thinking he has a right to rape a woman because it makes him feel good? Those with rational thinking ask, “What does that do to women’s rights?”

Teenagers suffer from irrational thinking. A teenager sits down beside a friend of his and hands him a pill. He says, “Hey, take this. It will make you feel good.” He takes it and, sure enough, it makes him feel good. He seeks out his friend and asks for more of those pills. He is willing to pay money for them. He ends up being a drug addict with all the bad effects. If he had been thinking rationally, before he took that first pill, he would have asked himself, “Where will this lead to?”

The same tragic end comes to those who start drinking alcohol because it makes them feel good. Thousands of lives are being snuffed out every day as the result of alcohol and drug abuse. Tragically innocent people are also losing their lives every day on the highways because drug or alcohol addicts crash into them.

The news media is making us increasingly more aware of another manifestation of irrational thinking. Somehow some have accepted the irrational notion that we can fight bad behavior with bad behavior. Those who have a rational mind know that we correct bad behavior by means of law and order. That’s the way it has been done in the past with good results.

This all started some months ago when a bad policeman in Minneapolis, Minnesota killed a man by keeping his knee on his neck until he suffocated. As a result, some people started responding with violent protests in the streets to protest “police brutality.” It looks highly suspicious that it was planned as a means of taking down the police.

It is irrational thinking to think we don’t need the police. The founders of our country included the judicial as one of the three branches of our government. Their duty is to see that the laws are enforced. They can’t do that without the police. They knew that men, by nature, are wicked. Adam’s sin was passed on to the entire human race. The Bible clearly says that men, by nature are evil. Romans 3:10-12 says. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Crime is rapidly increasing in cities where the police are restricted. Bad people hate and fear the police but good people are grateful for police because they are peace keepers. Letting criminals have their way will relieve the problem of over crowded prisons, but we will have to build bigger cemeteries to make room for all those who loose their lives because of man’s inhumanity to man. On what side do you think rational thinking people should be?

Bad behavior is best corrected by law and order. That way the one practicing bad behavior is made to pay. The irrational way in which some are responding today is like children who throw a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way. If parents respond by giving in to the child they will live to regret it. It is sad that some homes today are ruled by the children, not the parents.

Irrational thinking has always been a part of the human race, but it seems as though we are seeing more of it in our day. If we look for an explanation for the reason we can’t help but lay the blame on the way children are being educated in our public schools. Our public schools are not teaching children how to reason and think for themselves. In years gone by nearly all the high schools taught a course on logic. It isn’t being taught any more. One reason for that is that most colleges and universities have been taken over by liberals. That’s where teachers receive their training.

To do some research on this subject, I went to google.com and typed in “Logic in secular education.” I found a site that asks people why they think logic isn’t taught in our schools. I think only one person said that they thought it was because the liberals want to produce a generation of people who will willingly subject themselves to the ruling class. Personally, I think that is the main reason for not teaching logic. Some said that it’s because logic is contrary to people’s religious beliefs.

The truth is that, as Christians, there are things that we believe that unbelievers don’t think are logical. That may be true, but it’s because we believe in an all-powerful, all-wise God. With God, there is nothing impossible. Matthew 19:26 says, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

The truth is that God wants us to be rational thinkers. Proverbs 2:5-6 says, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Just because something seems right doesn’t make it right.

In Isaiah 1:18 we read, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” When we reason with someone, we present the truth we want them to accept. Then we ask, “Now, doesn’t that stand to reason?” God is gracious. He doesn’t demand that we accept what he says just because he says it. Often we should, but God also asks us to think about it and ask ourselves, “Now isn’t that to your advantage?”

Let’s get back to rational thinking. It promotes peace and harmony in society. Have you asked God to forgive your sins? If not, why not. There is much to gain and nothing to lose. Jesus has paid the penalty. All you need to do is accept it. If you think rationally you will say, “Yes, God. I need your forgiveness.”

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Vote Smart

August 18, 2020

Vote Smart

If you can’t vote smart, it’s best that you don’t vote at all. If you don’t vote smart, you are in danger of helping to put someone in office who is irresponsible. You may think you are voting smart, but if you can’t see that what some political candidates are advocating for are things that aren’t in any way good for our country, you will be voting dumb if you vote for them. You will suffer along with everyone else if they get in office.

It shouldn’t take much smarts to see that there are candidates running for offices who are openly in favor of things that are not for the good of our country. Some of our great cities are being destroyed by terrorists who are looting, burning, and destroying private property. The elected officials who should be sending in the police to arrest them and put them in jail are instead telling the police to stand down. If the police make their appearance, they are shouted down and their cars are burned. Even worse they are calling for the police to be defunded. In so doing, they are approving of these terrorist groups. Are these the kind of leaders for which you would vote? If so, for the well-being of your fellow Americans, it’s best that you don’t vote.

We desperately need our police. Just because a few do irresponsible things doesn’t give us reason for being against all of them. We need to support them. Cities without a police force are going to be ravaged by gangs that break into supermarkets and carry off truckloads of merchandise. What’s to stop them if there are no police? We need police to maintain law and order. A society can’t exist without them. If there are no police, what will you do if someone breaks into your house and steals at gunpoint everything of value that you own? Please, don’t be guilty of voting for leaders who are too dumb to see that we need our police.

The police are authority figures. Their job is to maintain law and order. Our country is under an ever greater threat by terrorist organizations who would like to overthrow our government by violent protests. It will be relatively easy for them to do that if there are no authority figures (police) to stop them. That’s why they want to get rid of the police.

We have reason to be amazed at the tremendous increase in knowledge that we have seen in our lifetime. Computers have placed at our disposal tremendous depths of learning. Knowledge, in terms of technology, has increased, but at the same time, we are going backwards when it comes to knowledge about human behavior. What is the explanation for this?

Much of the blame for this deterioration in the knowledge of ethics must be placed on the public schools where more and more children are being taught to hate America. They are being taught moral relativism. That is, that in terms of human behavior, there is no absolute truth. They leave it up to us to decide what is right and wrong. That means that what is right for me may not be right for you. That leaves people with double speak, and they say, “the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.”

Obviously it isn’t working. It’s time for us to get back to what Christians have always believed. There are absolute moral standards. If someone tells a lie, he is guilty of immoral behavior. When someone goes to court he is asked if he will swear to tell the truth, the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth. If he says “yes” to that question and tells a lie, he needs to be sentenced for it. There are also standards in other moral issues. There can be no law and order if these standards aren’t absolute.

Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” It is our duty before God and our fellow men to do justly. God’s Word clearly tells us what is just and good. We will never see peace and prosperity again unless we get back to that.

We need to vote intelligently. That means we need to be informed about the candidates before we go to the polls. You aren’t ready to vote if you just go and vote for the candidates running under the political party of your choice. Over the years political parties have changed. They may no longer adhere to the same standards they had when your parents and grandparents voted. Often there are more than one in a political party that is running for the same office. Sometimes those who are holding an office need to be voted out and replaced by someone more competent. Without having good government, we won’t have peace and prosperity. We won’t have good government unless we vote smart. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

There are candidates running for office in the federal government who are advocates of a form of government that would take from us the privilege of voting. If you are a homeowner, it would also take that privilege away from you. They don’t tell you these things. They just tell you all the things you will get free. It is called socialism. It brings everyone to the same level of poverty.

In the Old Testament we read of how the prophets of God plead with God’s people to make the right choices. They begged the people to have the right relationship with God. In the past, when their ancestors were in the right relationship with God, they had victory over their enemies. They could cite the exciting story found in Joshua chapter six. It tells how God’s army marched around the city of Jericho once a day for six days. On the seventh day they marched around the city seven times. When the priests blew their trumpets the walls of the city fell, and the army went in and captured the city.

Later, when the people fell away from the Lord, they lost the power they once had. Wicked nations began to have power over them. In Joshua 24:15 we hear Joshua pleading with his people saying, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

If you vote right, you will be doing your part in helping our country return to the prosperity we once knew. In the past, our forefathers didn’t know what it was to see thousands of homeless people camping out in the streets of the cities. No one received welfare checks from the government, but no one starved to death. They all worked hard and provided for their needs. The majority had enough respect for God that they obeyed the moral laws we find in the Bible. There were still people in prisons, but not as many as there are today. If we return to those days, we will not only live right, we will also vote right.

Please, please, when you go to the polls, vote smart. Get your news from a reliable source. Think about what is best for your country. If you don’t vote smart, you will have to pay the consequences. All the rest of us will suffer with you. Vote with those of us who want to make America great again.

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Getting to The Bottom of Our Problems

By Russell George

Before we can get on top of our problems, we need to get to the bottom of them and start there. We need to find the cause of our problems and deal with that. Many in our day aren’t thinking right. A superficial solution may modify the problem a little, but it doesn’t stop it. Many try to get on top of problems instead of going to the bottom of them and fixing them.

Our nation is facing some serious problems. Rioters are looting and burning businesses in sections of our cities. Homeless people are living in tents on the sidewalks of residential areas. Many think that the only way to stop the rioters is with a police force that is big enough and strong enough. Yes, that is necessary, but what is the cause of the problem? How do those people justify their behavior? Who is putting them up to what they are doing? Who is paying them to do it? How can we help those pathetic people think right and stop doing what they are doing? The problem is in the minds of men and we won’t solve the problem until we get them thinking right.

Our schools are failing to educate children. Many children are spending a dozen years in school and still they haven’t learned the basic skills of reading, writing, and math. Why? Isn’t it because they have no desire to learn? Fun and games is all they care about. Teachers haven’t done their job just by teaching the classes. Children won’t be educated unless we motivate them to want to learn. They need to see that their future depends on learning. Teachers need to be motivators before they can be teachers.

In great part, the problems we are facing today are because we aren’t looking to God for help. Christians have the solution to many of the world’s problems. Many of the problems we are facing are behavior problems. Force can be used to stop bad behavior, but it really doesn’t solve the problem. They say, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Putting a criminal in prison will stop him from doing violence in society, but the problem isn’t really solved until we have changed the hearts of criminals. Not enough effort is being made to change the hearts of prisoners.

Our problems keep on getting worse because people aren’t thinking right. Proud, arrogant people take offense if someone tries to help them see the error in their way of thinking. They attack the one who tries to help them with words of ridicule. Our politicians are attacking one another, on the news medias, with words of ridicule. If things go on this way, in the not too distant future, they may start attacking one another in the streets with knives and guns. That will lead to civil war. If someone tries to correct someone of the same skin color, he is slandered as a hate monger. If he tries to help someone of a different skin color, he is called a racist.

It is difficult to know how to help people. We as Christians need to pray that God will give us much wisdom to know how to help people whose minds are so twisted that they don’t know how desperately they need help. Many have no respect for God or his Word. They don’t know how to think. They can’t be helped unless someone can win their confidence and convince them that they need to learn how to think right.

Here is something to illustrate the fact that there is a right and wrong way to solve behavior problems. Let’s suppose that you have a neighbor whose name is Joe. He and his family just moved into the house next door to you a little over six months ago. After they moved in, you and your wife went over to get acquainted with them and offer to help them if you can in any way. A few times you had a short conversation when you happened to meet. One Sunday morning you invited him over to your house for coffee and you talked for a while. Once he mowed your lawn for you when you were sick.

One day you got word that Joe was in jail because one night he went downtown and broke into a store and stole some things. The police arrested him when he was carrying the things out to his car.

You were disgusted with Joe for doing a thing like that. You decided to go down to the jail and have a talk with Joe. The jailer took you to the cell he was in and you began to cuss him. You called him a dirty bastard and went on to use more words that were even more indecent. As you walked out you said to yourself, “I sure told him a thing or two.” Did you help Joe? Did you convince him that he should never again do what he had done? No. All you did was make him angry with you.

Jerry and his family live on the other side of Joe’s house. Jerry and his family are Christians. After Joe and his family moved in, Jerry and his wife took a bouquet of flowers over to Joe’s house. They welcomed them and invited them to come to their church. About two weeks later they invited Joe and his family over for a meal. Jerry’s wife and Joe’s wife became close friends.

When Jerry and his wife heard where Joe was, they went over to console Joe’s wife. Jerry decided that he too should go to the jail and talk to Joe. He took a candy bar and a pack of gum for Joe. He greeted him with a smile and said, “I’m sure sorry to hear what happened. Don’t worry about your lawn. I’ll mow it for you.” Jerry went on talking. He told Joe that he loved him and wanted to help him any way he could. He had his Bible under his arm. He pulled two tracts out of it and gave them to Joe. Then he read some Scripture with him. He assured Joe that he would be praying for him and left.

The next week Jerry went back to visit Joe again. They talked for a while. Before he left, he said, “By the way, they are taking up an offering to enable the store owner to replace the merchandise that was stolen and replace the door that was beyond repair.” He said, “I put $10.00 in the offering.” Again, before he left, he assured Joe that he was praying for him.

After Jerry left, Joe sat down on his bed and burst into tears. He was ashamed of what he had done. He said to himself, “I hope I never do anything like that again.” Which one helped Joe? Was it you or Jerry? The answer is obvious. One would hope that the story ends with Joe and his family going to Jerry’s church. Also that they accepted Christ as their Savior and experienced what it says in II Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Then they began to add the fruit of the Spirit to their lives. They are listed for us in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” We might also add that Joe saw the need of going to the store owner and asking forgiveness for what he had done. As a result, the store owner was so moved that he and his family also started attending Joe and Jerry’s church. That’s getting to the bottom of a problem.

Christians in the right relationship with God are never a menace to society. To the contrary, they are an asset. They know how to think right. We need more of them. Are you one? If not, you can be by humbling yourself and asking God to forgive you of your sins and make you a child of his.

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Tell Me the Truth

April 27, 2020

Tell Me the Truth

By Russell George

Liars are incompetent people. They can’t be trusted. They have a character trait that disqualifies them from being given responsibility. If you are known to be a liar, you have a black mark on you. It says “Be careful. He can’t be trusted.”

Liars do their best to cover up the truth about who they are. They don’t go around bragging about all they have gained by telling lies. The truth of the matter is it is often to your advantage to tell a lie. You can gain by telling lies. You lose however big time when the truth is known. You go from being a trusted person to being an outcast in your society.

If someone is confronted with the truth about a lie they have told, their first response is often to try to justify themselves. They may deny it. If that isn’t possible, they may say, “I really didn’t mean what I said.” They may look for a way to say that it was a half – truth.

Many dishonest people are millionaires but they aren’t being brought to justice for the wrong they are doing because they have people higher up in the government who cover for them. Corrupt politicians pay people in the news media to lie for them and cover up for them so they can get elected and do as they please. Many are living in luxury because they are skillful at deceiving people. They steal from honest, hard working people, but they may go to their graves without having spent a single day in prison. Others, who are lacking in discretion, have spent years in prison because of what they stole.

Many aren’t taking into consideration the fact that after death they will be judged by an all wise, all powerful God who will give them what they deserve. If there is no God, or no fear of God, people feel no restraint against getting what they can by deceiving people who have a lack of discernment.

There would no doubt be much more corruption in our society if it weren’t for some courageous radio and television talk show hosts who call attention to the lies we are being told. Liars are incompetent people. When you go to vote, you need to vote for honest people. Don’t put in office more liars. They are incompetent. They can’t be trusted.

In the past, people had stronger convictions about lying. Parents didn’t let their children get by with it. More people were in church where they were taught that it’s a sin to lie. Children were reprehended in school for lying.

Children are born with a sin nature. Included in the sin nature is the tendency to lie. Parents, first of all, need to set the example by telling the truth. Then they need to teach their children that it’s wrong to lie. It often takes some corporal discipline to get them to control their tongue. I learned from a child that it’s wrong to lie. I learned it from my parents. I also remember being taught in school that it’s wrong to lie. It’s debatable whether it’s true or not, but I was taught that when George Washington was a boy, he took an axe and cut down a cherry tree. When his father saw what had been done, he asked George if he did it. He said, “Yes father. I can’t tell a lie.”

Liars are losers. It may not seem that way. Yes, they have gained along the way by telling lies, but in the end, they will be losers. It is a help to us to turn to the Bible and see what it says about lying. We cannot expect God to put his blessing on those who do what God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19 says that God hates liars among others who do wicked things. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

In the Bible, lying is given some ugly names. In Psalm 39:1 it is called sin. “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” In Proverbs 6:16-19, that is quoted above, it is called an abomination. In James 3:6 it is called iniquity. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” Revelation 21:8 tells us where liars shall find themselves in the end. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Some don’t like to see a plaque in federal buildings with the Ten Commandments on it. I wonder if it isn’t because the commandments prohibit things they are doing. Among those things are: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

Yes, it is a sin to tell a lie. You nee d to agree with God about that. If you sometimes resort to telling a lie you need to ask God to forgive you and ask him to help you get victory over it. God will help you resist the temptation. If you do lie the Holy Spirit will make you feel so ashamed of yourself that you will say, “I’ll never do that again.” If you have recently lied to others, you need to confess it to them, and ask them to forgive you. It is more honorable to confess than to deny or make excuses. To deny that you lied, when you did, is to lie again. Be a winner, not a loser. Those who tell the truth always come out on the winning side in the end. There are two things you need to do to be a winner. You need to be honest. Tell the truth. You also need to increase your wisdom so you won’t be deceived. Studying the book of proverbs will be a tremendous help to you in that.

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The Price of Love

October 24, 2019

The Price of Love

By Russell George

Love has a price. There is cheap love and expensive love. The price of love doesn’t have a Dollar sign on it. It is determined by how much it costs us in terms of effort.

Let’s start with cheap love. To say it is cheap doesn’t mean that it isn’t genuine. It most often is genuine, but it is cheap because it comes easy.

It is the kind of love that has its beginning in a young couple when they start dating. It is exciting. They find in each other an attraction. For them, to be together is a pleasing experience. When they say good by at the end of each date they start counting the hours and minuets until they can be together again. The more they learn about each other, the more desirable qualities they see in one another.

It is cheap love because it takes little effort for them to love one another. The only sacrifice they make is that of keeping their desires within the bounds of moral limitations. There is a difference between lust and love. Lust is to give into the sexual desires that each one is capable of offering to the other. If their love is to develop into a pure, authentic relationship that will go on meeting their needs for a life time they will keep their love within the limits of a moral relationship. That gives them the strength to wait. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Once they are married, husbands are told that it is their duty to love their wives. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Likewise Titus 2:4 says, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.” I often tell young couples, “If you each make a concerted effort to make your mate happy you will have a happy marriage.” If you love your mate, in turn your mate will love you. It doesn’t take much effort to love those who love us. That is cheap love, but it’s the best kind.

Again and again, in the Bible, we are told to love. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Then there is expensive love. That is love that costs us something. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:43-44 that we should even love our enemies. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” That isn’t easy to do. We are more inclined to want to take vengeance on them, but Paul tells us in 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.” In verse 20 he goes on to say, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” That puts an end to hostility. In Romans 12:18 Paul says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” It is impossible to live peaceably with some people.

In marriage, there sometimes comes a time when love gets expensive. For example, suppose there is a woman who had a happy marriage for many years. However when her husband was in his 70s he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As time goes on his condition worsens. He gets to the point where he can no longer be trusted with the check book. He doesn’t understand why and gets angry with her. He no longer respects her and doesn’t show affection for her that he did in past years. He does more and more irrational things. At church fellowship meals he says things that embarrass her. That is when love begins to get expensive.

I have seen a similar situation develop when a woman’s husband foolishly yields to a temptation and does something illegal. He ends up in jail. Sometimes women abandon their husbands because they don’t want to be identified with him. They are no longer willing to pay the price that genuine love demands.

Sometimes Alzheimer’s disease or physical handicaps bring a person to the point where their mate can no longer care for them. They have to be put in a care center. Many times he or she doesn’t understand why they have to be there. They want to go home. They feel like their mate is being unfair to them. That leaves their mate paying a high price to go on loving them.

In the marriage ceremony we commit ourselves to go on loving our mate “for better or for worse.” We always hope that the “for worse” time will never come. If it does, those with integrity go on paying the price of love. In gratitude for the many years of a happy relationship we need to go on loving our mate. Many times it’s not the fault of your mate that he or she can no longer meet your need of being loved. It’s costly to go on loving your mate when you get very little love in return.

I have great respect for those who go on loving when it gets expensive. If it should come to pass that you are called upon to give expensive love, and you do your duty, you will be greatly rewarded in heaven, if you are a child of God. Hebrews 10:34-36 says, “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

There is also great love. Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ That’s what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. For him, it was expensive love. If we look at it from our side, it is cheap love we have for him. If Jesus was willing to pay that price for us, it shouldn’t take great effort on our part to love him. In I John 4:19 we read, “We love him, because he first loved us.” In gratitude for what God has done for us, we want to please him because we love him. In I John 5:3 it says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” That word “grievous” means to be heavy or burdensome. Christians don’t find it hard to surrender their will to God’s will because of the great love they have for him.

Sometimes, when I have presented the gospel to someone, they say, “I don’t think I could live the Christian life.” My response is to say, “Your right. You couldn’t. But if you will trust in Christ for salvation it will give you a new reason for living.” Christians don’t find it hard to live the Christian life. They do so because they want to. If you put your faith in Christ for salvation it will open the door to an abundance of cheap love, but a love that is genuine and satisfying.

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Helping Homeless People

June 19, 2019

Helping Homeless People

By Russell George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Let’s Fix It

September 19, 2018

Let’s Fix It

By Russell George

It is often said, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If it is broke, it sure needs to be fixed.

In this article I want to call to your attention the need of fixing our culture that is increasingly more corrupt. What do we need to do to fix it? You and I can’t fix it by ourselves, but if we all work together, with the help of God, we can fix it.

About all we are doing now is treating the symptoms of our corrupt culture. That needs to be done, but any medical technician knows that the cause of a disorder also needs to be found and corrected.

Some are helping young people and adults get their drug addiction under control so they can go on with their life. It would be better if we fully informed our children and young people about the dangers of drugs so they would never touch them. Some marriage counselors help couples solve their problems so their marriage doesn’t end in divorce. Better it would be if they were in a good church where they would have knowledge of how to get help from God in controlling their selfish passions and love one another. Some Christians work with prisoners and help them get right with God so that when they get out they are a blessing to mankind and not a burden. If they had been brought up in a good church they would have moral values that wouldn’t allowed them to get in trouble with the law.

To fix our culture, the first thing we need to do is live above the evil norms of the culture. Just because something is now accepted, when previously it wasn’t, doesn’t make it right. We need to live according to the standards we find in the Bible. That will leave us cross – cultural, but that’s what needs to be done to fix our culture.

Most older people can remember a day when there weren’t nearly as many homes split up because of divorce. Teenagers weren’t addicted to drugs. There weren’t nearly as many teen – age pregnancies. There weren’t nearly as many in jail or prison. What made the difference? Back then a much higher percentage of the people attended church regularly. Even if they didn’t, they respected Judaeo Christian standards. There were more nuclear families. Parents taught their children to respect their authority. Much more could be mentioned.

It stands to reason that the way to fix our culture is to go back to the old ways. We aren’t suggesting that we go back to a primitive way of living that would demand more sacrifices. We just need to go back to a fear of God and a respect for decency and order. For the most part, people were happy back in the old days. They had fun. They enjoyed social functions that didn’t include drinking and immoral behavior.

I would like to suggest some more things we can do to change things in our small corner. If we all work together we can make an impact on our society.

Christians need to be sharing the gospel with those around them. We need to be telling people about what God is doing for us and the joy we find in living the Christian life. If your Christianity doesn’t give you something to be excited about, maybe you don’t have the relationship with God that you should have. Genuine Christianity doesn’t put a chain around our neck that makes us feel ugly and burdened down. It gives us joy and reason for living. Our joy in Christ should make others say, “I wish I had what he or she has.” Those who have the right relationship with the Lord should be experiencing what David said in Psalm 16:11. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Christian parents need to bring up their children in what the Bible calls in Ephesians 6:4 “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” That includes teaching them to respect their authority. If they don’t learn to respect the authority of their parents they won’t respect the authority of those who are over them, and much less God’s authority. Teaching them to respect authority will no doubt demand some corporal discipline. Parents may be criticized for it, but later on they will have children they can be proud of and those who criticized them will be ashamed of their children. A happy family is one where they all do things together. That will demand that parents say “no” when their children demand that they buy them a smart phone. A happy family isn’t one where each child spends his time off in a corner by himself with his smart phone.

To return our culture to where it once was will also demand that parents be out spoken and demand that the public schools clean up their curriculum. It is pathetic that so many children are allowed to graduate when they can scarcely read and write and do simple math. They aren’t being taught to think for themselves. They are being taught false ideologies. Children in school need to be taught decent behavior habits. That doesn’t include tolerance for or the acceptance of transgenderism or same sex marriage. If the school refuses to change, parents need to love their children enough to be willing to home school them or send them to a good private school.

We also need to pray and do what we can to rescue our young people from secularism. Many are dropping out of church when they finish high school. Many churches could do more to reach young people and keep them following the Lord. They need to be taught to discern between good and evil. That way they will know better than enroll in a college that teaches them to walk in a wicked life style. Proverbs 4:14-15 says, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”

People with low moral values are finding themselves in jail or prison. Prisons are often called “correctional centers,” but most criminals aren’t corrected by being locked up. When they are released they go back to the same life style that put them in prison. More Christians need to take advantage of offering the gospel to prisoners. That is the most effective way of correcting prisoners.

Please join the team of those who are convinced that our culture needs to be fixed. To do nothing allows our culture to be increasingly more corrupt. We need to be doing all we can to change our culture. Encourage others to join the team of fixers. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

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Right Thinking About Thinking Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thousands of years ago God gave us his moral laws. They are the Ten Commandments. They are found in Exodus chapter 20. These aren’t the only commandments God has given to us. In Mark 12:29-31 Jesus summed up the contents of the Ten Commandments. He said “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

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

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

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

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

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

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