The lead paragraph of a story during ravages of Hurricane Katrina several years ago, as she made her first appearance in south Florida is as follows: “The storm proved fatal for two people who ignored warnings to stay inside until the worst was over. A man in his 20s in Fort Lauderdale was crushed by a falling tree as he sat alone in his car, while a pedestrian was killed by a falling tree in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Plantation.”
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ warning in Luke 12:15: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” This was Jesus’ response to the man who perceived or intended some wrong (whether the former was real or imagined or whether the latter was his motivation, the text does not say), demanding Jesus tell “[his] brother to divide the inheritance with [him]” (vs. 13).
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2)
Attention Deficit Disorder, mostly referred to as A.D.D., appears to be a commonly diagnosed problem in children these days, falling under the generic category of a learning disorder. It is no doubt a real problem for some. By extension, we have no doubt it is a real spiritual problem for some who are Christians. Staying on task (focusing) can be difficult for any one of us at times. Lack of rest, “too many irons in the fire,” lack of self-confidence, etc. – any or all of these contribute to the disorder. However, in many cases it is the result of a lack of discipline.
How do we know if the Bible is speaking figuratively or literally? A little common sense will help us. When Jesus said, referring to Herod, “Go and say to that fox…” (Luke 13:31, 32) no one assumes Jesus thought Herod was a literal fox. Rather he used the term figuratively.
We have all seen the “Mission Statements” of service institutions (hospitals, doctor’s office, restaurants, retail stores etc.) displayed upon entering the establishments. They are the stated goals of the institution relative to product, the customer and the service involved. Most of us have probably, at least partially, read these statements. I suspect the test of the institution’s sincerity to their mission statement is probably most discernable when it is pointed out that they did not meet our (the customer’s) reasonable expectation.
The apostle Paul was unequivocal in writing to the church at Corinth when he wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9-10).
I once knew a fellow who was a staunch Calvinist. I don’t mean a nominal disciple of Calvin but one who actually believed it and tried to teach it from the Bible. He told me the thing that got him thinking was sitting in a Bible Study listening to his good friend – the local Calvinist preacher – teaching from the book of Revelation. They were discussing the 7 letters to the churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. My friend told me something kept bothering him as he studied for the class but he couldn’t put his finger on it. After intently listening to the preacher read Revelation 3:21, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne,” my friend blurted out somewhat unintentionally, “But what happens if he doesn’t overcome?” The Calvinist preacher, his good friend, couldn’t answer the question. They discussed it for weeks in private and finally my friend told him he couldn’t accept Calvinism anymore. My friend obeyed the gospel.
All meaningful relationships are built on trust and honesty. In those two virtues enduring love is empowered to nourish both the lover and the loved. Trusting someone means respecting and believing that his/her desire is to act with motives that are pure and to do the right thing. That is not to say that either the lover or loved always acts with the right motive or in the right way. However, if false motives or wrong actions, are honestly confronted and examined by both parties (Proverbs 27:5) the guilty will admit their failure and seek forgiveness. In turn, the innocent forgives the guilty on the basis of such honesty, knowing that forgiveness is the deepest expression of love, and without love, all is lost, for nothing endures. (Proverbs 10:12; I Peter 4:8) Thus, no relationship for good, whether human or divine, is capable of enduring apart from trust and honesty.
Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today, He has no feet but our feet to lead men in His way; He has no tongue but our tongues to tell men how He died, He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.
What if our hands are busy with other things than His? What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is? What if our tongues are speaking of things His life would spurn, how can we hope to help Him and welcome His return?
–Annie J. Flint and J.E. Hamilton
The church of Christ is valuable. In fact, nothing on this earth compares to her worth. Let us consider why she is so valuable.
She was valued by God from before the creation of the world. Ephesians 3:11 says that the church was in the eternal purpose of God. God planned long ago for Jesus to come into the world and give His life to save men from their sins and add them to His church. The church was not an accident and she was not an afterthought. She was a dream in the heart of God.