Let’s Learn from History

September 17, 2020

Let’s Learn from History

By Russell George

We can and should learn by observing what is going on around us. There is also a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and discernment that we can obtain from history. We can learn what works and what doesn’t. An ignorance of history causes us to make the same mistakes our forefathers made. Seldom is anything gained by making mistakes. Often we hear our senior citizens say, “Don’t make the same mistake I made.” We won’t hear those words from our forefathers who lived before we were born. We must read history to learn from them.

History can be a boring subject if it is just presented to us in books that state the facts of what worked in the past and what didn’t work. We can learn from those books, but it is much more interesting if we read it in books about people. There are biographies and autobiographies. A biography is a book written about a person. An autobiography is a book written by someone about his life. Both are interesting because they are about people. We can learn what made them successful. We can also learn from the mistakes they made.

It is unfortunate that many public schools aren’t teaching history. If they do teach it, it is an abbreviated version of it. Some books are being written that are a perverted version of history. They are written to put forth an ideology that the author wants to propagate. They aren’t an honest version of history.

A knowledge of history gives us discernment. It is especially beneficial for young people because there are many paths in life they can take. If they have a knowledge of history, they can learn from others who took the path they are thinking about taking and see where it leads to.

I grew up in the sand hills of Nebraska. My friends and I sometimes talked about how much fun we could have if a city boy moved into the neighborhood, or even if he was just in the neighborhood visiting his grandparents for a week. We would invite him to go snipe hunting with us. If he asks any questions about it, we would tell him, “We will tell you how we do it before we leave.” We would ask him to come to one of our houses where our mother had prepared a meal. All of our friends would be there also. After the meal, we would say, “Now let’s go snipe hunting.” As we made our way out to the pasture after dark, we would put a burlap sack in his hands. We would tell him, “Snipes are little animals that live out here in the hills. They are about the size of a bunny rabbit. They live in holes in the ground. They feed on cow piles. After dark they like to come out and run up and down the cow paths looking for cow piles. We catch them in a sack like we put in your hands. You will need to straddle the cow path and hold the sack open over the cow path. We will go on over the hill and if we see any we will chase them your way. Oh, here is a cow path. You need to stand here and hold the bag open over the path. We will go on over the hill and chase them over the hill.”

After we got over the hill out of his sight we would run around the back side of the hill and go back home, leaving him out there holding the bag.

For you city slickers, I need to explain some things to you. Snipes aren’t animals. They are birds that live in swampy areas. Animals don’t feed on cow piles. If you don’t know what cow piles are, I’m sorry but I can’t think of the proper words to explain that to you. If you are ignorant of history, you may find yourself out some night holding a bag over a cow path or an even worse situation.

History is a part of life. All of us have a history from the day we were born until the present. Everyone who has ever lived has a history of his life. It may not have been recorded or written but those who knew him know his history. All of us have had successes and failures. We can learn from one another; even those we have never known if we read their history.

From history we can learn to appreciate what our forefathers did for us. Those who came before us had to clear the forests where farmers now cultivate their crops. Some cleared the forests to make pasture where their cattle could feed. It might have taken two men several days to cut down a big tree and cut off the branches. They just had their axes and what was called a “crosscut saw” that two men used. They used their horses to drag off the branches and the trunk to a place where they could burn it. Then they had to dig around the stump, cut off the roots, and tie their horses to the stump to see if they could pull it out. If they couldn’t, they had to dig some more and cut off the tap root. With the power tools we have today, three men might be able to clear out 50 trees in a day. We have chain saws to cut down the trees and cut off the branches. Then a man comes in with a power caterpillar tractor and drags it all off to the burn pile.

It was hard labor also that enabled our forefathers to build roads for us. They had to clear a path through the trees to make the roads. The hills were partly leveled with dirt scoops pulled by horses. They had two handles on them that the operator lifted when he wanted it to bite the dirt and fill the scoop. Then he walked behind it while the horses pulled it down to the valley where they dumped it by lifting the two handles to make it bite the dirt and turn upside down. It would take about a half a yard of dirt at a time. The operator spent the day walking up and down the hill behind that scoop. Several other men worked with him at the same time. Today just one man with a modern earth mover in just a day or two could do what it took several men 10 or 20 days to do.

Our forefathers didn’t complain about the work they did. They did it with an eye on the future. They might have gotten paid for building roads. If they staked a claim on an acreage of forest land they had to clear the trees without getting paid for it. As they worked, they anticipated the day when the land they cleared would be green pasture or a field of corn.

Reading history makes us appreciate what we have today. We should be willing to do our part to make this world a better place for our children and grandchildren. History also helps us make wise decisions. You can’t afford to be ignorant of what history can teach you.

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Good Common Sense

January 16, 2020

Good Common Sense

By Russell George

People often find themselves in a problematic situation because they failed to use good common sense. Common sense enables you to make good decisions. A refrain we sometimes hear today is, “if it feels good, do it.” Good common sense tells us that isn’t good advice. If we just follow our feelings we can easily find ourselves outside the bounds of acceptable behavior. In this article, I want to encourage you to keep yourself within the bounds of good common sense.

Good common sense demands that we think. Maybe you don’t like to think, but if you don’t you will make a fool of yourself. You may even hurt yourself. Our mind is one of the most valuable assets we have. Even animals have a mind, but their minds don’t have anywhere near the capacity of the human mind. With our mind we learn. We learn to walk and talk. We learn what to do and what not to do. We learn to have skills so we can work and have something to offer.

Let’s suppose that a boy is playing football. The ball is passed to him and he runs off the field with it, gets in his car and takes it home with him. Has he won the game? I’d say he is way out of bounds. I’d say he wasn’t using good common sense, wouldn’t you? In the same way, many people aren’t using good common sense.

Take, for example, young people who get caught up in transgenderism. If you decide to make yourself of the gender opposite to that which God made you to be, you are flying in the face of reason and common sense. Just a quick look at your physical anatomy tells you what you are. A high percentage of transgenders attempt to commit suicide. They find themselves so confused and ashamed that they see no other way out. It doesn’t bring them happiness. If you are giving consideration to attempting to be of a different gender, it would be wise for you to say to yourself, “In light of the facts, it doesn’t make good common sense to give further consideration to this.” (To find the facts about suicide among transgenders go to www.yahoo.com. There you need to type in “suicide among transgenders”)

In Isaiah 1:18 the Lord says, “Come now and let us reason together.” We may reason with someone to help him see that he needs to use good common sense. We need to be able to say, “It just stands to reason that I should or shouldn’t do this.”

Instead of saying, “If it feels good, do it,” it makes more sense to say, “If it works, do it.” there may be some situations where that doesn’t make sense either. There are two approaches we can take to determine whether it makes good sense to do or not do something. The first is observation. If we see others are doing what we are thinking about doing, we can ask ourselves if they are getting good results from doing it. Are they hurting others by doing it? The other approach is to seek advice from others. Seek out someone who is older and has had more experience and ask him or her if it makes good common sense to do it.

Before you drop out of school it makes good common sense to ask yourself, “Is it wise?” “What happens to those who do it?” “Will I later regret it?” “Can I be successful in life without an education?”

It’s true that the Bible asks us to believe some things that appear to be outside the bounds of common sense. The first verse of the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” We are left to believe that he made everything out of nothing. Matthew 19:26 says, “With God all things are possible.”

Something as grandiose and marvelous as our universe demands that there had to have been a divine designer. People who don’t want to believe in God have come up with other theories about the origin of the universe. The most common is the theory of evolution. Again, something as grandiose and marvelous as our universe didn’t just happen by chance. Things with design don’t just happen by chance.

A miracle is another thing that goes beyond the laws of common sense. They go beyond the laws of nature. It might appear that some men have done miracles, but in every case, they were done by the power of God.

Contrary to what some might think, it makes good common sense to believe what the Bible says. It is the most logical explanation of things. In the Old Testament we read that the Jews had success and prospered when they obeyed God. When they didn’t, God abandoned them and let them be overcome by their enemies. If we do our best to obey the moral standards of God, we enjoy a happy, prosperous life. It’s not that we never have any trials, but God’s provision is always sufficient for us when we do.

I John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” His commandments aren’t grievous for those who are in the right relationship with him. We come into that relationship when we do what 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’s only begotten Son came to this earth and gave his life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. If we confess to God that we are sinners and ask him to forgive us on the basis of what Christ did for us he will save us from condemnation and make us a child of his.

It just makes good common sense to do what God tells us to do. Have you done that? If not, do it now. All you have to do is bow your head and ask God to save you and make you a child of his. If you do his will he will guide you to do that which makes good common sense.

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What is Your Outlook on Life?

By Russell George

You will never succeed in life if you don’t have the right outlook on life. I want to help you understand what is the right outlook on life. An important key to having the right outlook on life is to accept and live out something that Jesus taught when he was here on earth. In Acts 20:35 we read that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

It is unfortunate that so many live to get. You won’t get much if you have nothing to give. Having something to give makes one a person of value. The more we have to give the more value we have. It is human nature to want to get. All of us want to get more and more. We are prone to overlook the importance of giving. If we don’t have the power to give we won’t have the power to get. In Luke 6:38 Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

For example, if you are looking for a job and you hear of a company that is hiring, you will want to go and apply for a job. When you do, you will be given an appointment with the personal manager. He will sit you down in front of his desk and start asking you questions. He will want to know what you have to give. He may ask if you know how to drive a truck, a tractor or a fork lift. He will probably ask if you know how to use a computer. He may ask if you have any skills in accounting. If you have nothing to give he will say, “I’m sorry, but you don’t have anything to offer us.”

The Bible teaches us that work is honorable. Adam, the first man, was given work to do. Genesis 2:15 says, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” Also in II Thessalonians 3:10 we read, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

If we have skills that enable us to get a job we start earning money. Then we have money to give to help others who have needs. That gives us value in society.

Many times the outlook young people have on life is controlled by peer pressure. They want the approval of their friends. That’s why they start drinking alcohol and taking drugs. For those who are gang members they may feel successful because of the number of rival gang members they have slain or the number of cars they have stolen.

Being prepared to contribute something needs to begin in childhood. A baby doesn’t have anything to give to his parents. The first thing may just be a smile. They just want to get. They want attention. They want their diaper changed or something to eat. As they get older they are taught to walk so they don’t need to be carried from place to place. They learn to feed themselves. They are potty trained. The more they do for themselves the more they leave their parents free to do other things. As our children got older they were given a job list that changed from week to week. One week it might be to sweep the kitchen floor every day. The next week it might be to take out the garbage. The next week it might be to sweep the sidewalk every day. They were learning to contribute something to the home. They were given some spending money for their work.

Children need to be motivated to learn. If not, they drift through grade school and high school and come out with a very low grade point average. They don’t qualify for any college scholarships. Even if they did go to college they wouldn’t be able to get passing grades. They are at a handicap.

We can learn from the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. He wanted to get. In verse 12 he said to his father, “give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” The following verses tell us that he misused what he got. He finally came to himself when he came to extreme poverty. Verses 17-19 tell us about the decision he made. He was ready to go back to his father and say, “Make me as one of thy hired servants.” He was ready to work.

Young man, young lady, if you have the right outlook on life you will be motivated to get a good education because you know that the more you have to give the more you will get out of life. You will never be a burden to society if you have something to give that society needs. Our society needs people who know how to nurse us back to health when we are sick, people who know how to build and fix our roads, people who know how to fly airplanes and many other skills. We are given a salary in exchange for what we give to society. That way our needs are met and we even have money to give to charity. That is the way we fit into society. We give and get.

Life is great for those who have the right outlook on it. For those who don’t, it is a disaster. Prepare to give and you will get the be st that life has to offer you.

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Two Moral Restraints

October 27, 2018

Two Moral Restraints

Farmers put up fences to keep their animals from going astray. Human beings also need restraints to keep them from going beyond what is decent moral behavior. The reason for that is found in Jeremiah 17:9.The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Modern men like to think that men are basically good. This verse tells us that they are wrong about that. The prominence of moral and social problems also attests to the truth of Jeremiah 17:9

There are two moral restraints placed on people. One is inner and the other is exterior. I like to call the inner restraint self induced moral restraint. The exterior restraints are those that society places on human behavior. They are civil laws and public or private rebuke.

Those who are saved and surrendered to do the will of God accept and obey the commandments of God. Even many who aren’t saved and surrendered respect and obey the moral laws found in the Bible. They are called Judeo – Christian moral principles. As people get farther and farther away from God they tend to abandon those moral principles.

A peaceful prosperous society accepts the fact that there are absolute moral laws. Our culture is more and more corrupt because of the rejection of the fact that there are absolute moral values. Children in public schools are being taught the philosophy of humanism. Christianity and humanism don’t agree about moral values. The following is cited from an article in the web site www.allaboutphilosophy.org/humanism.htm. “Humanism maintains that no objective or universal values exist. A person may be moral if he or she creates a system of values and lives according to them. A humanist would maintain that no one is obligated to be moral. Therefore, humanism fails to provide moral objections to immoral behavior. Obviously, if no moral absolutes exist, you can’t demonstrate that anything is wrong or evil. Thus, in a humanist society, no one can really judge or condemn the choices or actions of others.”

There are two types of self induced moral restraints. There are those we place upon ourselves because we feel that it is our duty. It may be because the law says I can’t do it. It may just be because we have been taught that it is our duty.

For God’s people, there is a second type of self induced moral restraint. It stems from our relationship with God. Jesus said, in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we keep God’s commandments because we love him, then I John 5:3 will be true in our life. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

Psalm 119:97-102 says, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou, through thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.This the highest self induced moral restraint. These verses also tell us that a love for God’s laws increases our understanding. There is a hymn that says “God never moves without purpose or plan.” His laws also are with purpose and plan. By keeping God’s laws a society enjoys peace and prosperity.

It is important that we have self induced moral restraints. If not, we are certain to find ourselves in serious trouble. It may just come from those around us. It may also come because we have violated civil laws. I know a prisoner who told me that he was doing time because a patrolman tried to stop him. Instead of stopping, he stepped on the accelerator and tried to outrun him. He was also arrested for shop lifting. He said he was on drugs when he did that. Because of prison ministry, he now acknowledges his wrongdoing, has repented, and is now ready to live his life as it was meant to be lived.

It should be obvious that we are failing to teach children and young people the need of having self induced moral restraints. The prison population continues to increase. Part of the blame falls on parents. Another part of the blame falls on public school teachers. Children aren’t being taught to think for themselves. The result is that they don’t know how to discern between good and bad; right and wrong. They make foolish choices like being addicted to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. They don’t see the need of applying themselves to their studies. Instead they waste their time with electronic devices. They aren’t prepared to make their way in life.

Do you have self induced moral restraints? If not, you need to.

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The Good Life

July 14, 2017

The Good Life

Every one wants to live a good life, but due to ignorance of what constitutes a good life, and what is required of us, many don’t get to enjoy it. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” God, our Creator, wants us to enjoy the good life. He has made it possible. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

The problem for many people is that they have an erroneous concept of what constitutes a good life. Their expectations are too high. We can’t expect to have a good life if we aren’t willing to make any investments in it.

We must face reality. No one has a right to expect that they will pass through life with no anxieties. Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” It seems that some have more tribulations than others. There are things we can and should do to protect ourselves, but even then we will have some hardships.

God has promised great things to those who are his. Psalm 1:3 says that the blessed man; “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.” The same Psalm tells us the things the blessed man does and doesn’t do. “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.”

If we aren’t willing to obey God we have no right to claim his promises. The concept some have of the good life is that it would leave them free to live their life as they please with no restrictions. The Christian life has no attraction for those who think that way. It would put too many restrictions on them. A life that makes no demands of you would make slaves of those around you. Romans 14:7 says “For none of us liveth to himself.” You are living in a fantasy world if you think everyone is obligated to serve you and that they have no right to demand anything of you. We need one another. We give and get. If we aren’t willing to give, we have no right to expect to get anything. Jesus said in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” He also said “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Those who have a realistic concept of the good life will agree with Jesus who said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We should find satisfaction in giving. If we do, The good life will be one that enables us to give.

The hope of living a life without pain and grief is getting farther out of reach for us because of the deterioration of the moral standards in our culture. When people depart from God they leave behind the high moral values they once had. The founding fathers of our country were convinced of that.

On June 20, 1785 James Madison declared “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institution upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Sited from the book “One nation Under God” compiled and written by the staff of the Christian Defense Fund pp. 41-42 On June 17, 1843 Daniel Webster declared, “The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of special revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.” op site pp. 76-77

Young people who have surrendered their lives to the Lord don’t bring anguish and shame upon their parents by giving in to the lusts of the flesh. Every day there are parents who are forced to pour out tears of grief beside the casket of a son or daughter that ended their life prematurely by substance abuse. Those who surrender their lives to God and live for him don’t waste their lives in riotous living. They are a blessing and not a burden to society.

It is alarming to take note of the way our moral standards have fallen and continue to fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “The drug overdose death rate increased significantly in the last few years from 12.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2010 to 16.3 in 2015.” Think what a dramatic change it would make in our society if everyone stopped taking drugs!

Drugs, of course, aren’t the only moral problem facing us. Many other anti-social behavior patterns are a menace to the good life for most all of us. Like it or not, the truth is that we live better if we live the way God says we should.

Take my word for it. I have lived a little over 80 years. From my own experience, and from my observation of thousands of people I have known, I have come to this conclusion. The good life is one that is lived in a happy, harmonious relationship with God, family, and with others. If you want to have it any other way you will be disappointing.

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Be Not Weary In Well Doing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Initiative – Do You Have It?

Initiative is what common people call “get up and go.” It is an introductory act or step leading to action. The word initiative doesn’t appear in the Bible, but much of what it says gives us reason to believe that it is something God expects us to have. The word “diligence” appears a number of times in the Bible and it has a meaning similar to the word initiative. Proverbs 10:4 says “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Also Proverbs 12:24 says “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. Again in Proverbs13:4 we read “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”

To be without initiative is to be slothful. That word appears in one of the verses above. Slothfulness means to be lazy. The lazy person just does what he finds enjoyment in doing. Proverbs 12:27 says “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Without initiative we won’t make any accomplishments in life. We will just do what is our obligation to do and stop there. The one who has initiative gets things done. He doesn’t wait for someone else to do it. He takes responsibility.

Children need to be taught to have initiative. We need to have goals in life. There needs to be a desire to achieve. Sometimes we need to suggest goals for children. For example, give a child a sheet of paper and a pencil and ask him to draw a picture of a leaf or a snow man. His drawing may be crude, but praise him anyhow. As a result he may set goals for himself to draw something. Children need to have goals in school. If they don’t get a good education it will be difficult for them to achieve. The result will be that they will have a low self esteem. That will discourage people from having initiative. They will think, “I can’t do it so I may as well not try.”

People with initiative are the makers and shakers in society. They get things done and they encourage others to get things done. They are people we look up to because of their achievements. Every house you see as you drive down the road is there because someone had the initiative to build a house there. Every book you see in a library is there because someone had the initiative to write a book.

People without initiative are a burden to our society. Most of the people on welfare are there because they don’t have the initiative to go out and look for work, or maybe they are looking for a job but can’t find one because they don’t meet the qualifications. They don’t meet the qualifications because they didn’t have the initiative to study and get an education.

It is unfortunate that there are people groups in our society who are lacking in initiative. Sometimes employers are accused of discriminating against them because they don’t give them a job. The problem, however, is that they don’t meet the qualifications for the jobs that are available. Colleges are accused of discriminating against them because they aren’t accepted as students. The problem is that they can’t pass the entrance exams. They don’t have the initiative to study and prepare themselves to contribute something to society. Now they are left in poverty. We are supposed to feel sorry for them, but it is largely their own fault that they are poor.

Don’t expect society to take care of you if you didn’t have the initiative to prepare yourself to have something to offer to the job market. If you don’t have initiative to work the Bible tells us that you have no one to blame but yourself if you are hungry. II Thessalonians 3:10 says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

It was a mistake on the part of our government when they started the welfare program. It encourages slothfulness because people feel they have a right to what are called “entitlements.” Few people died of starvation before the welfare program was put in place. People worked to meet their needs. If they couldn’t work they were at the mercy of society. It is our duty to care for the handicapped. God has promised to bless the merciful. Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” In Acts 20:35 we are told to labor to support the weak. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Do you have initiative? If you don’t, you need it. If you don’t have it, ask God to forgive you and help you to have it. Apply yourself. Don’t wait or expect others to do for you what you should do for yourself. If you are handicapped and can’t work and meet your needs it’s alright to receive help from society. If others are meeting your needs you owe a debt of gratitude to them.

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The Longing To Be Independent

February 25, 2017

The Longing To Be Independent

Yes, you want to be independent, but are you ready for it? Independence is something that must be earned. Your parents want you to be independent. They don’t want you to be dependent on them the rest of your life.

What you really want is the freedom to make your own decisions. Isn’t that right? Are you sure you have the discernment that is needed to make wise decisions? The decisions many young people are making clearly indicate that they are lacking in discernment.

Discernment is the ability to for see what the outcome will be from the decisions we make. Hebrews 5:14 says that we need to be able to discern between both good and evil. Sometimes we make a decision to do something based only on the anticipated excitement that we will derive from it. No thought is given as to what the outcome might be.

Let’s suppose that one of your friends in high school gets the bright idea of decorating with toilette paper a small tree that is in front of the principal’s house. He invites you and a number of his friends to join him in it. You may think “That sounds like it would be a lot of fun. It would just be a practical joke. He is a fun loving guy. He should take it alright.” After school you all go to the store in your friends car and buy two bags of toilette paper. You split the cost. A little after 10:00 at night you all drive by the principal’s house. The lights are all off so you assume that he must be in bed. You drive around the block again and stop in front of his house. You all get out with two or three rolls of toilette paper under your arms. The tree is only half decorated when all of a sudden two police cars stop in front of the house and turn their flashing lights on. Before you can say “Well done” you are all hauled off to the police station.

You are all charged with illegal entry or trespassing. You may not go to jail for it, but it will go on your police record. If you had asked your parents permission to be involved in the prank, do you think they would have given you permission? It is doubtful. Proverbs 1:10 says “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” What an embarrassment it would be if your mug shot came out in the local newspaper saying you had been arrested and charged with trespassing.

Your parents are responsible for you if you are a teenager living at home. Be thankful for all they do for you. They have a right to put limits on your liberty. They do it because they love you and want the best for you.

As your parents see you mature, they will most likely give you more liberty because they see that you can be trusted. Proverbs 6:20-21 says “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” Your parents are a better judge of your maturity than you are. The following are some suggestions of things you can do to give your parents reason to think you can be trusted:

1. Ask your parents for advise and take their advise

2. Do things around the house that need to be done without being told.

3. Do your best to obey the rules your parents set for you.

4. Be diligent in completing with your responsibility.

a. Try hard to get good grades in school.

b. Be careful in the way you spend the money that is entrusted to you.

c. Be courteous and go out of your way to do things for others

5. Make friends with those who have high standards and are respected.

Be thankful if you have parents who put limits on your liberty. That shows that they love you. Some parents put little or no limits on their children. Later they are ashamed of them, but it is too late to do anything about it.

Be patient. The time will come when you will have your independence. Your parents want to teach you now so you will have wisdom to make good decisions when you have your independence. Later you will be glad your parents didn’t let you do all the things you wanted to do. Then you will be able to say what Solomon said in Proverbs 4:3-4. “For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” Children, brought up under the supervision of wise caring parents, will be the responsible adults of tomorrow.

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A Life Surrendered To God

August 26, 2016

A Life Surrendered To God

Some time after he accepted Christ as his Savior, D. L. Moody said, “The world has yet to see what God can do in and through a man totally surrendered to God. By God’s grace, I want to be that man.” Thousands of people came to know Christ as their Savior through his ministry.

The first step for a young person must always be that of accepting Christ as his Savior. It shouldn’t just be some words spoken that don’t come from the heart. It must begin in his heart and then it will be manifest in his life. The second step is when he surrenders his life to God to be willing to do his will. Altogether too often young people want to reserve for themselves the right to make their own decisions and do what they want to do. When they go that way their life is a sad story of what could have been. They make many make many foolish decisions and show a great lack of discernment.

Young people who aren’t believers in Christ are easily influenced by their friends. Even those who are believers are also influenced. It is unfortunate, but many young people of this world don’t give much thought to what they would like to do with their life. For that reason, they aren’t motivated to study and get an education. Somehow they like to think they will get a good job with good pay and live well without making any preparation for it.

Young man, young lady, if you have accepted Christ as your Savior he wants to guide you. You need his direction. In Romans 12:1-2 he offers to give it to you. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” No one is more capable of guiding you than God. In Psalm 143:10 David said “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” For some reason, many Christian young people are afraid to surrender their life to God. Maybe it’s because they think he may ask them to do something they wouldn’t want to do. It is a lie of Satan. In Psalm 40:8 David said “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” In Romans 12:2 we read that God’s will is both good and acceptable. It also says it is perfect. If you are surrendered to God, it will be a delight to do what he asks you to do.

The leading reason for why we have such a lack of Christian workers is that few Christian young people are willing to surrender their life to God. He isn’t going to guide all who surrender to him into some type of spiritual ministry. God also needs Christian lawyers, doctors, nurses, mechanics and truck drivers. All should feel that they are serving God by what they do. If you surrender your life to God he isn’t going to call you to be a good for nothing bum and a burden to society. He is going to make it possible for you to contribute something to society.

Not all my readers are young people. Something needs to be said also to those who are middle aged. Many of them wonder if they haven’t missed God’s calling for them. If you fall into that category, there is still time for you to surrender your life to God. You don’t have as much of your life to give to God as young people do, but you can give him the rest of your life. I know a man who was a successful farmer in his late 20s, when he felt that God had something better for him to do. He surrendered his life to God. God led him to put his farm up for sale and sell at public auction almost everything he had. Then God led him to go to a mission field where he used his talents as a mechanic and in construction. Later God led him to other places where he did the same. He is now nearing retirement age, but he is still active as a helper in Christian work projects. He made wise investments of the money he received from the sale of his farm and equipment. As a result, for the most part, he has been self supporting.

When your life’s work is over, will you have anything to show for it? In I Corinthians 3:15 we read of some who “shall be saved, yet as by fire.” If you surrender your life to God, in the end you will hear him say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21).

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The Danger of the Dance

June 28, 2016

The Dangers of the Dance

A genuine Christian should feel out of place in a dance hall. This article was written to tell you why. It is a dangerous place for a good Christian to be. He is in danger of being overcome by temptation. Romans 13:14 tells us that we should “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

In spite of what some say, what attracts people to dance halls is sexual excitement. For a man, it is an exciting experience to move with the music with his arm around a woman. For a woman, the excitement comes from giving herself to a man and letting him control the movement of her body across the dance floor. One seldom sees men dancing with men or women with women. Dancing excites fleshly passions that some young people, even adults, can’t control.

Dance halls are often a hang out for prostitutes. Often it is there that young girls are lured into prostitution. That alone should tell any right thinking Christian that the dance hall is not a good environment for him or her. The Bible verse in the first paragraph of this article tells us that we should make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.

Another danger of the dance hall is that there many young people are offered alcohol or drugs for the first time. They may be enticed by someone telling them “It will make you dance better.” It is almost certain that there will be no one there to warn them of the danger of addiction. Alcohol lowers a prson’s resistance and ability to think clearly.

It is almost certain that rock music will be played loudly at the dance hall. It stimulates thoughts of illicit acts.

Some man may say, “My wife and I go to the dances, but we just dance with one another.” If you find enjoyment in that, there is a better way to do it. After you finish your evening meal, and wash the dishes, push the table and chairs in the dining room to one corner of the room and clear a space for dancing. Put on some dance music and you can dance until you are exhausted. That will save you making the trip to the dance hall and buying the tickets. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you perhaps you need to ask yourself what there is about the environment at the dance hall that makes a difference?

Some seek to justify dancing by quoting verses from the Bible. They use verses like II Samuel 6:14. “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.” When David danced on that occasion it was for joy that the ark was being returned to Israel. There is no comparrison between that and what takes place in a dance hall. Another Bible verse that is cited is Ecclesiastes 3:4. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” In the Old Testament to dance was a way of expressing great joy. It is here contrasted with a time to mourn. It wasn’t a form of entertainment.

The Bible gives us good admonition about how to keep ourselves from temptation. The following are some verses to take into consideration.

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).

Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22).

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:16).

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” ( I John 2:15-16).

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Peter 2:11).

It can’t be denied that there is pleasure in dancing, but there is danger with it. There is pleasure in sin. In Hebrews 11:25 we read that Moses chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” God has a plan for our life. Included in his plan is all the pleasure we need. II Peter 1:3 says, “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.” The pleasure God has for us is not sinful; neither does it put us in an environment where we will be tempted above that which we can resist. There is pleasure and satisfaction in doing good. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

If you have questions or comments you can send them to our e-mail address.  It is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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