Monthly Archives: November 2013

How to study the Bible

Many people know very little about the Bible.  What they do know about the Bible, they did not learn from the Bible itself.  They have learned from teachers, books, radio, or other people.  But, they never actually opened the Bible and learned from it.  They have made their opinion about the Bible from the opinions of other men and not from the Bible itself.  Many people have an opinion about the Bible, but they have not even seen a Bible.  The Bible is a big book.  A person can spend all of his life enjoying it.  I want to help you to make an opinion about the Bible from the Bible itself and to understand it.  But, mostly, I want to help you to see that it is God’s personal message to each of us.

God gave us the Bible because He wants us to know who He is.  In fact, the main subject of the Bible is God.  It’s not just a book of teachings about God.  It is a story about history as seen from God’s point of view, from the beginning to the end.  Because man is a part of history, the Bible also teaches us many things about mankind and man’s relationship with God.

When studying the Bible, you must start in the beginning and work our way it.  You should start in the book of Genesis.  Genesis is the first book of the Bible; thus, it is a very important book.  You cannot completely understand the truths about the Bible unless you understand some things about Genesis first.  If your understanding of Genesis is good, much of the rest of the Bible will easily “come into focus.”

 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

All of the Word of God was given to us by God’s inspiration. God had the inspiration to write down a message and He used men called “prophets.”  He gave them the exact message that He wanted written down.  Sometimes God spoke to them out loud, sometimes in visions, and sometimes He put the message directly into their heads.  Then, God caused them to write down exactly what He had said.  This is where critics might just say, “Then the Bible was really written by men.  So, it’s man’s ideas and not God’s.”  We can know that the Bible is not man’s idea because it tells us so in 2 Peter 1:20-21 which says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  It is God’s idea and God’s Words.  It is not the private idea of any man.  It is the only book in the world that is written by God Himself.

God took 1,600 years to write the Bible, and He used 40 different people to write it.  But, even though God used so much time and so many people to write it, the Bible has perfect unity from beginning to end.  Why?  It has this unity because God is the one and true author of the Bible.  If many people went to a meeting, they would all see the same meeting, but would they all have the same opinion?  If we asked a person what was the most important thing that they saw in the meeting, not everyone would say the same thing.  They would each have a different story to tell about the same meeting.  Many different people wrote the Bible.  They were not all together in one place like the people in a meeting.  No!  The people that God used came from very different cultures.  They even came from different times.  Many of them never even knew each other.  But, when we read the Bible, it appears to be one story, one book.  It has perfect unity.  How can one book have perfect unity when so many people wrote it over a 1,600-year period of time?  There is only one answer – the Bible has only one author: God!

Isaiah 43:1, 10 says, “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

The author of the Bible is God, that God caused men called “prophets” to write down His Word.  But, how did it come to be the book that we see today?  God gave us His message through the Jewish people first.  In fact, all of the people that God used to write the Bible were Jewish except one.  His name was Luke, and he was a Gentile.  (A Gentile is anyone who is not Jewish.)  God wanted the whole world to receive His message through the Jewish people.  At first, God used the prophets to write down His message.  These original documents wore out from use and old age.  So, new copies were made.  These copies were made by hand and were done very carefully.  Copies were made and given to other people.  They also would copy it and then give the copy to still another.  Even though this was all done by hand, there are more ancient manuscripts of the Bible than any other document.  These manuscripts have been found through archeology.  In fact, there are many that have been found.  All of these ancient manuscripts are almost exactly the same.  They only differ in very small details.

The original texts of the Bible were written in one of three different languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.  In the time that Christ was on the earth, the scrolls (Bible) were kept in the temple.  Only a few people were able to have copies of these texts.  Most of the time, if the people wanted to hear them, they needed to go to the temple and listen to them being read.  As time passed, God caused men to begin translating the manuscripts into other languages.  Copies of these were sent from place to place for the people to read.  Today, the Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in the world.

Psalm 119:89 says, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”

One study of history is called archaeology.  It is when people dig into the earth to find ancient information about ancient cultures.  Many discoveries have proved the accuracy of the Bible.  The archaeologists have found things that agree with what the Bible says, even to the smallest detail.  In fact, there are thousands of discoveries that have been found that ALL support the accuracy of the Bible.  There are still new things being discovered today, and each new discovery adds to the support of the Bible.  This can only prove that the Bible is not man’s book; it is God’s book.  Books that man has written will often change.  Even history books are rewritten.  But, the Bible has never changed because God, who knows everything, wrote it.

The Bible is not just another “religious” book.  Many people have written books trying to tell others about God.  God wrote the Bible.  In it, He tells us what He is like and who He is.  He tells us about Himself and about ourselves, about our relationship with Him.  It is a special book that answers the questions:

  • Where did I come from?
  • Why am I here on this earth?
  • Where am I going from here?

It is a book that answers the question about “Absolute Authority,” and who has it.  It teaches us what authority is and what our relationship is to it.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

It is important for us to read and study the Bible because it is God’s personal message to each one of us.  It is like God’s voice speaking to us, teaching us about ourselves. It is the only book in which God Himself teaches us how to live in the world today.  It is the only book in which God Himself tells us what He thinks, feels, and wants us to know.  God wrote it to give to each one of us:  young, old, boy, girl, man, and woman.

Finding and Finishing Our Course

 

Luke 14:25-33 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

 

The Christian life is pictured in the Bible as a race to run; a course to finish.  The Apostle Paul was determined not only finish his course, but to do it with joy (Acts 20:24).  This is exactly what he did.  Shortly before his death, he gave this testimony: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2Timothy 4:7).  He finished his course.  Each of us needs to be aware that God has a course for us, and He wants us to carry it out to the end; He wants us to finish our course.

 

Gods plan for each of us is specific to us.  No one else can carry it out for us.  It is ours.  However, He will help us find and complete that plan.  Still, many Christians never even find their plan, let alone finish it.  In fact, they hardly even try.

 

The passage above speaks of one who intends to build a tower.  Building this tower is like running a race and finishing a course.  Yet, because of many pitfalls, the tower may never get built.  By looking at the necessary ingredients for building this tower, we can see how to succeed as well as learn why so many people fail.

 

God wants us to finish our course

 

The first requirement of those who would build a tower is that they must be “intending to build” (vs. 28).  If they do not at least intend to build, then nothing else can be accomplished.  To “intend” means to “have in mind as a purpose.”  When we intend to finish our course our vision of the race goes well beyond the starting line.  It also allows a view of the finish line, or in this case, the placing of the final brick.  Granted, the way to the end may not be understood but a vision of accomplishment is formed.  You cannot go someplace if you don’t know where it it.

 

This intention or vision is also spoken of as our “purpose.”  In 2 Timothy 3:10, Paul told Timothy, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience.” Probably the greatest number of Christians fail to finish their course because they have no purpose in their lives.  Or, their purpose has been skewed by the Devil or self.  So, we must have the right purpose.

 

It Must Be For God: We cannot finish our course by living our life for self.  We must lose the life we want to live for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Luke 9:24 says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”  Jeremiah told the scribe Baruch, “And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not…” (Jer. 45:5).  We must seek great things for the Lord.  Jesus told His disciples, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:25-26)

 

It Must Be From God:  Many Christians try to serve God on their own terms.  They choose what they want to do for the Lord and then expect Him to support them in their labors.  But this will not work.  It is not enough to be doing something for the Lord.  The mission has to be the one He has given us.  When Saul got saved, he began his Christian life by asking, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).  As with Paul, we too must seriously asked the Lord what He would have us to do.  Paul, when praying for the Colossians, asked the Lord that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9).  In other words, to know and understand the course He had planned for them.  Caleb claimed the promise of God when he said, “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day” (Joshua 14:12).  But note that he claimed only what God had already promised him.

 

To finish our course we must find God’s purpose for us and follow after that purpose.  God may not tell us everything at once. He will at least give us a starting direction and will always show we the next step to take.  But we need more than a purpose.

 

We need a plan:  Good intentions are cheap.  In fact, without some action behind them, they are worthless.  But before we can act, we must know where we are going.  Our passage in Luke tells about the builder who sits down before he begins to build and “counteth the cost” (vs. 28).  That is what we do when we establish a plan and determine if we are willing to give the necessary effort to accomplish our purpose.

 

Why Do we Need a Plan?  We need a plan to discover God’s way of accomplishing the purpose.  He must be the source of the purpose and the plan as well.  We seek His face through prayer and meditation and wait for Him to give us a plan.  Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 

We need a plan to discover God’s timing.  God’s timing is beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and He will make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).  But our timing may destroy the entire purpose and will certainly cause unnecessary delays and detours.  We need God’s timing in order to determine several things:

 

  • When to begin action.
  • What steps to take.
  • What our priorities are.
  • What can be left for later.

 

How Do We Get This Plan?  We seek God’s direction through prayer.  Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  If we seek God’s answer and wait for it, He will let us know what He wants us to do.

 

We develop the plan through meditation.  The virtuous woman “considereth a field, and buyeth it” (Proverbs 31:16).  God can and will work through our thought processes if we are submitted to Him.  This is why Bible reading coupled with meditation upon His word is so important.

 

We gain wisdom through counsel.  Others may counsel us personally or we may find help through published materials that can help us.  God uses all of these ways.  Proverbs 11:14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

 

Planning is crucial to finishing our course.  But there are people who have spent their life making one plan after another and yet have accomplished very little.  Planning must be coupled with action.

 

In Luke, the builder of the tower must get to the point where he has “laid the foundation” (14:29).  For Christians to accomplish their purpose for the Lord, they must lay a solid foundation.  Jesus told a story about two men who built houses (Matthew 7:24-27).  He does not mention any difference in floor plan, or size, or exterior covering.  He only mentions one difference: the foundation on which the houses were built.  One was built on the sand and the other on the rock and when the storms came, only the house with the firm foundation stood.  The type of foundations also told us something about the men who built the houses.  The man who built on the rock was called a wise man.  The one who built on sand was called a fool.  What kind of builder are we?

 

The Baptist preacher and teacher, B. H. Carroll (1843-1914), said, “Only prepared men accomplish great things.  And the greater the preparation, the less need for long time to do great things.”

 

Prepare For the Work:  Proverbs 24:27 states, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”  Picture someone in early America who is homesteading in a new land.  What is most important?  Should they build a nice house first?  Of course not!  To make our work fit in the field would be to prepare for defense against any hostile Indians and to make sure that the crops get planted in time for harvest.  A house is no good if we are killed or if we have no food to eat.

 

Many people want to put the cart before the horse in Christian service.  Paul spoke of those who were, “desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (Titus 1:7).  There are people who want to teach but do not want to do the study or get the training necessary to be a good teacher.

 

Any significant work for the Lord requires some form of preparation.  More and more people want to skip this step.  For us, it may mean BibleCollege or some special form of training.  It may mean working under someone for several years and learning from them.  It may mean getting our financial house in order.  But, if we are ever to finish, our course, we must prepare.

 

Prepare for the Winter: Proverbs tells us that the ants are wise because “they prepare their meat in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25).  They use summer as a window of opportunity to gather food so that when the winter comes and there is not food to gather, they can live off that which is in store.  Preparation means that we use opportunities and do things at the best time to do them.  If our purpose requires some form of learning that is easier to obtain before marriage, then we need to make a choice between the two.  Attending school later may be necessary, but timing is important.  We often want to skip the dull stuff but the dull stuff is often the key to success.

 

Okay, so we have discovered God’s purpose for our life.  We have made plans and have laid the foundation through preparation.  Now what?  Now…it is time to push!

 

We Must Push with All our Might:  The main thrust of our passage is that someone wants “to build a tower” (Luke 14:28).  To build a tower we must do the work of a builder.  We must put forth the effort.  We must push.  A worthy purpose requires a working servant.  Many Christians fail to finish their course because they are lazy; they have no push.  Solomon admonishes us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  Paul tells the Colossian servants, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (3:23).  Doing a work for the Lord takes all we have…and then some.  Are we working as if for the Lord?

 

We must be Persistant (vs. 29, 30):  Yet, to finish the tower, one thing yet is needed.  The builder must be “able to finish.”  Some men start many things but finish none.  Paul finished his course.  Will we finish ours?  Is so, we must refuse to faint (Proverbs 24:10; Galatians 6:9).  We must finish by faith (Hebrews 12:1-3; 1Corinthians 15:58).

 

We have been looking at the Christian life as one in which we build a tower or finish a course.  Another picture used in the Bible is that of sowing and reaping (Psalm 126:5-6).  In order to reap, we must work the land, sow the seed, care for the plants and refuse to quit.  God promises that those who refuse to faint will eventually, in due season, reap the harvest (Galatians 6:9).  What would it take for us to fail?  Why not just keep on going on for the sake of the Lord?

 

The Selflessness of Uriah the Hittite

2 Samuel 11:3-24Uriah, David and Bathsheeba Contains the story of how King David conspired to kill Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba.  David saw Bathsheba bathing from afar and desired to have her as one of his wives.  So, he committed adultery with her while her husband was away with the other men of valor fighting Ammon at Rabbah.  David, as well as Bathsheba, was very wrong in their sin.  The Bible says that you can be sure your sin will find you out (Num. 32:21), and this is exactly what happened—Bathsheba became pregnant. 

To cover his sin, King David planned to bring Uriah home from the battle under the false pretenses of having him carry a report of the battle to the king.  His plan was that; Uriah would come home and sleep with his wife.  Therefore he would think that the coming baby would be Uriah’s and not someone else’s.  What the king did not plan for was the utter dedication of this Hittite to the Lord and to his brothers in arms.

Uriah refused to go home to his wife.  He slept on the steps of the palace instead.  He reasoned to David, “The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?”  Eventually, the king had him murdered; just to cover up his sin.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]He was a man who put God first and his neighbors second.[/pullquote]

The Lord has dealt with me concerning the selflessness of Uriah.  He was truly a righteous man.  He would not do for himself what the others in his arena of influence could not do.  His service to the Lord was more important to him than the orders of the King or even his own wife.  He was truly a man who put God first and his neighbors second.  To gain a testimony like Uriah’s takes a degree of dedication that precious few ever reach.  For many years, as I read about Uriah, I thought, “didn’t he know that Bathsheba was certainly going to find out he was in town?”  And, “What would she think of a husband that came back home for a leave, and didn’t even come to see her?”  I was thinking wrong.  I had missed the dosage of love that this sinful passage contained.  Uriah loved immensely; it is just that he loved God first.

Of course he was wronged. His wife was taken from him; she cheated on him; he was conspired against; and finally he was murdered while fighting in the hottest part of the battle on the very front lines.  But, during all of this, Uriah firmly loved God and his comrades even more than his own life.  He died alone on the battle field.  It would seem that his life was a waste, but it was not.  God used the testimony of Uriah to change the King.  It was a reminder to him about how to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:13-14).  Perhaps it was Uriah who showed David how to be truly a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22)

Oh that there would be more Uriah’s in the Lord’s work.

Laodicea Church

THE LAODICEA CHURCH WE LIVE WITH

Revelation 3:14-20 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Today we find ourselves living in the Laodicean Church age.  It is the last period of time before the Lord Jesus Christ comes to rapture out His church.  Compared to the other periods of church history, the Laodicean is the worst of all and that is because of the apathy of believers in Christ.  The word “Laodicean” means the “rights or justices of the people.” Literally the civil rights of the people.  It is a time when the church is more interested in their individual rights and have totally forgotten the rights of God—their Creator.  Unfortunately, this is the mess that the church is in when God returns to get us.  AND, do not fret my friends; there will be no exercising of personal rights at the rapture for God’s rights will overshadow all.  When He says, “come up hither,” will it not be with anger in His voice rather than that of the compassionate Jesus Christ Superstar that many envision Him to be?  Will He not be angry at the church for lack of interest in winning the lost to Him?

The last church claims a belief in God while at the same time living a dead, skin-deep Christianity.  People in this church, profess belief in the “fundamentals of the faith” while embracing ecumenical works.  It is a church where you cannot really tell what it stands for or what it stands against.  It is a church which conveniently balances itself on both sides of the fence; it is neither hot for God or cold against Him (vs. 15).  It is the worst kind of church there can be: LUKEWARM (vs. 16)close enough to God to be warmed by the Bible, and far enough away to be chilled by the world.  It is the epitome of rotten apostate modernism.

God is an extremist. He does not believe in getting along with the world in a kind of “fake Christianity”.  He “would thou wert cold or hot.”

The Laodicean church makes God sick (vs. 16)—sick enough for Him to “spue thee out of my mouth.”  Why is this?  Could it be because of the tremendous material assets this church has that others in history did not?  Could it be because it is more interested in bragging about its busses, holdings, how much the property is worth, how much the offerings are or how many missionaries it supports?  After all, this church says it is “…increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” But God sees the truth.  He gets to the heart of the matter.  His response to all of our vast access to resources that we are “… wretched, you’re miserable, you’re poor, you’re blind, and you’re naked.” This is the opposite of how we see our self.  People today have too many churches to go to.  The pastor does something that they don’t like, or another church member does something that they disagree with, they just “hop on over” to another church that more fits their need.  People in this age are more interested in themselves instead of God, and God’s preacher better tell them what they want to hear or else.

The great problem with the church today is that Christians are afraid to stand up for Jesus.  Oh, we sing the song, “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus…”, but that is just lip service.  Christians have worked out a way to be a Christian on Sundays and just a regular guy the rest of the time.  That way they can AVOID CONFRONTATION.  This is a joke of a Christian who claims that he has to put on the “armour of God”, when he knows in his heart that he is not really going to use it.

This Laodicean church lives by feelings, just like the rest of the world.  Like the Israelites of old, temples to Baal have been erected amongst our ranks and the only thing that can “shake the church” loose from them is some tragedy; else God will never get our attention.  If there was one thing that I could make the church see, it would be the reality and magnificence of GOD.  Hence, people would see how much they owe to Him.  But God does not demand our deaths; He demands our death to self, so that we might be able to live the true life that He intended.  It is sad that it takes hard times in our life to bring us to our senses.

God counsels that we buy of Him “…gold tried in the fire…” (vs. 18).  That is to say, He counsels that we see things as they truly are; that faith in Him is worth much more than gold or riches or prestige or honor (1 Pet. 1:7).  This entire world is going to be burned up and all that is contained therein.  There is absolutely nothing that will survive His hot wrath.  Any investment in this world is futile.  I know that right about here the concept of “stewardship” is usually slipped in, but there is a vast difference in caring for things that perish verses things that do not.  The only thing that will not perish will be the souls of men who are right with God.  This is “stewardship” in its most correct form: to win souls, develop them and teach them how to win more souls.  But this cannot be done without “CARING”.

You say, “I don’t see it that way.”  I know.  I know there is a problem with how you look at things.  That is why God urges to “anoint thine eyes with eyesalve…” (vs. 18).  This is why the Devil has so many things to look at in the world today.  This is why things like TV, pornography, movies, sports, internet, etc. work so good for him.  Man is curious, and his curiosity will never be satisfied.  This is a good thing if it is channeled to learning about the personality and character of God.  But this is not so.  Man is more interested in tickling his sin nature.  The “forbidden fruit” only becomes the draw to man when he looks at it (Gen. 3:5-6).  We have a problem with our eyes.  Therefore, we need the eyesalve of God’s Word that we can see correctly.  Can you imagine the fruit of the tree looking rotten, moldy, corrupt and covered in maggots?  In other words, can you imagine being able to see sin for what it is?  The only way that can be done is to:

  • Stay in your Bible.  You need the Bible.  It is your strength and your sword.  Without it, you will only see what the world is showing you.  Or, you will only know what the world tells you about the Bible.  The cults (Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.) are experts at offering a candy coated glob of slop.
  • Stay in Church.  Don’t just “attend” church, come expecting something from God.  Expect that God is speaking to you from the Bible via His messenger.  Presuppose that God is real and He can do anything even in spite of the preacher or teacher.  Expect God to be a blessing to you and discard the thought that you will be a blessing to God.
  • Pray faithfully.  Tell God how special He is to you.  Talk to Him.  Tell Him how much of a blessing He is to you.  Tell Him what you think of His Book, His church and His preacher.  Tell Him what you would request of Him, but resist the urge to give Him your grocery list of problems to solve for you.
  • Witness!  This cannot be stressed strong enough.  You must witness for God.  There are many ways in which you can do this.  Use your mind and think of a way you CAN do it instead of inventing ways you cannot do it.  The fact of the matter is this: if you love something strong enough, you can do things you never thought you would be able to do.  Or, if you want to do something bad enough, you will figure out a way to do so.

It is time now to repent of being a lukewarm Christian.  Can you truly say you are giving your all to Him?  Are you tithing?  Are you attending church?  Are your words just more empty promises to God?  God’s way for dealing with those whom He loves in this Laodicean church age is to rebuke and chasten.  REPENT!  Change your ways.  Be zealous about Him (vs. 19).  Be given over to the draw of the Holy Spirit.  Be zealous for Him and the things that He loves and forget about the world.  Stop comparing yourself to others who are not living for the Lord.

Do you realize that at the end of the Laodicean church age Jesus is outside the door of the church?  The door has been slammed shut in His face.  He is knocking to come in and who is listening?  Are you?  Do you hear His humble rap upon the door?  Why is He on the outside in the first place?  Who came to church and left the Lord outside?  I do not want to be a Laodicean even though I happen to live in this age.  You don’t have to leave Him outside.  You can bring Him in with you.  Or, you can answer the door.  The problem why many do not is that they don’t even hear His voice anymore (vs. 20).  They are too worried about money, satisfaction of self, offending others or becoming accountable to God’s word (they don’t want to hear what He has to say about their sin).  But if YOU open the door to Him, He will come in to you and have fellowship with you, even in spite of anyone else.  But until you do, until you open the door of your heart, you can not have sweet fellowship with Him.  You will be a Laodicean.

Strongholds

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Someone said, “Christianity is all in your mind.” There is much truth in that statement. The mind is primarily responsible for growth in the Christian life. Let us notice what the Scriptures say about your mind:

GOD KNOWS ALL YOUR THOUGHTS

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

God is keenly interested not only in our actions but also in our thoughts. It is estimated that you have 10,000 thoughts a day. To God, your mind is a window without curtains.

YOUR CHRISTIAN BATTLEFIELD IS YOUR MIND

The world, the flesh and the devil fight for your mind.

  • Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
  • Colossians 1:21, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled”
  • Hebrews 12:3, “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Man is a very complex creation. Have you ever seen a suicidal puppy or a depressed canary? You say, “What makes thoughts so difficult to control?” Secrecy and the absence of restraint. A parent can control a child’s actions but not his thoughts. God is very interested in our thoughts because thoughts produce actions. God destroyed the world by flood because man had unrestrained thoughts.

Genesis 6:5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

In Romans 1:28 God speaks of the reprobate (rejected) mind in the downward progression of a civilization.

In Romans 7:25 Paul says: “…with the mind I myself serve the law of God;…”

The mind is the control room or computer of the Christian life. The control room must be guarded. Lot never guarded his mind.

2 Peter 2:8, “(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

SEEING AND HEARING

When the mind is right, the actions are right. YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE, BUT WHAT YOU THINK–YOU ARE! (Read that over until it sinks in.)

Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

In order for a Christian to alter his behavior, the thinking must be changed! You must plan and guide what enters your mind. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.  That is one of the things wrong with hypnosis, drugs, and liquor. They put the mind in neutral so the devil can jump into the driver’s seat. Keep a busy mind!  Do you know one reason God destroyed Sodom?

Ezekiel 16:49, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

Idleness was a cause.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. used to say: “Behind every human tragedy there is a slow process of evil, wicked thinking.” No one ever falls into sin. They have been falling a long time. We only saw them when they landed. Sin began in their thoughts.

Sir Francis Bacon was asked what he thought the outlook was for the next generation. He declared, “Tell me what the young people are thinking and I’ll tell you.”

THOUGHTS produce ACTIONS

ACTIONS produce HABITS

HABITS produce LIFE-STYLES

What you put into the computer comes out. Put in 48 hours of television a week and you’ll have someone who acts, talks, and thinks like television personalities. Put in 30 hours of rebellious radio music per week and you’ll have someone who has philosophies and rebellion like the groups he hears. What have you been programming into your computer?

True, you can’t help but have some evil thoughts cross your mind from time to time, but do you entertain them? Someone said if you nurse sin on the knees of thought it will grow into a giant. You will never regulate your passions until you regulate your thought life.

TRANSFORMING YOUR THOUGHTS

Romans 12:1-2 says, “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.”

A transformation is an inward change that produces an outward change. A biologist cannot change a caterpillar into a butterfly-it has to come from the inside. So it is in the Christian life. Worry and depression are not solved by psychiatrists, but by thinking what God wants us to.

Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

In Philippians 4:8, God gives us a list of things to occupy our thoughts: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Sad to say, the average mind is like a toilet. To keep it clean, it needs constant flushing with godly thoughts, much prayer, much Scripture, and much grace.

THE THREE MINDS

There are three types of minds mentioned in Scripture. You have one of them. There is the natural mind, the carnal mind, and the spiritual mind.

NATURAL MIND — UNSAVED

1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

This is a non-Christian. He has no spiritual appetite for the things of God. He cannot comprehend spiritual truth. He is dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). He may be outwardly religious and morally clean but cannot comprehend the Christian life. His thoughts will be what is right in his own eyes, situation ethics, humanism. The natural mind thinks whatever comes natural to a lost person.

CARNAL MIND — WORLDLY CHRISTIAN

Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

Carnal means “of the flesh.” The carnal mind is a saved person who lives for the flesh. The church at Corinth was full of carnal Christians. Paul called them babies. He said they could only swallow the milk of the Word. They had to be taught when they should have been teaching. They were cliquish, immature, divisive, and easily offended.

The Christian with a carnal mind is not satisfied in Christ alone. He chases after things, amusements, and delights rather than in the things of God. He is quarrelsome, touchy, and often is the source of chruch problems. He has feeble digestion and cannot get his own food spiritually. Deep Scriptures do not interest him. There is very little difference, if any, between the natural man and the carnal minded man.

The lost see no difference and have no conviction when around a carnally minded Christian. The carnal mind needs to get right with God, be serious, and fill itself with scriptures! (See also 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Romans 7:14-15; James 4:4.)

SPIRITUAL MIND-SPIRITUAL CHRISTIAN

1 Corinthians 2:15, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”

This is the Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit and has a mind full of Scriptures. He is mature, has understanding of spiritual things, has the ability to teach other Bible truths, and is fruitful. He has the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

If you think the thoughts Jesus did, you will live the way Jesus did. To do that we must think Scriptures—meditate upon them. Because of that, our minds will be going forward, will not be in neutral and will not have a chance to go backward (backslide). The spiritual minded man needs to make sure he does not get satisfied. (See also Hebrews 5:12, 14; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:22-23.)

LET US NOT BECOME SATISFIED!

SOURCES:  Things I’ve Learned by Bob Jones, Sr.; The Battle for the Mind, Catlay

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE JESUS CAME

Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house, not a creature was praying, no one in the house.  Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care, in hopes that Jesus would not come there.  The children were dressing to crawl into bed, not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap was watching the Late Show while I took a nap. When out the East there arose such a clatter, I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash! When what to my wandering eyes should appear but angels proclaiming that Jesus was here. With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray I knew in a moment this must be The Day! The light of His face made me cover my head; it was Jesus returning just like He had said. And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth, I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself. In the Book of Life which He held in His hand was written the name of every saved man. He spoke not a word as He searched for my name; when He said “It’s not here” my head hung in shame. The people whose names had been written with love he gathered to take to His Father above.  With those who were ready he rose without a sound while all the rest were left standing around. I fell to my knees, but it was too late; I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate. I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight Oh, if only I had been ready for tonight. In the words of this poem the meaning is clear; The coming of Jesus is drawing near. There’s only one life and when comes the last call, we’ll find that the Bible was true after all.  

The Seven Mysteries of the Bible

In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 we are told, “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” A steward then is somebody that is given something valuable to take care of, and he is supposed to take care of it for his master. Not only that, a steward is to be “faithful” because he has goods delivered to him that don’t belong to him. Such is every one of us who is given stewardship of God’s money. We understand about God giving us money and use it as the Lord would have us to. But here we are talking about a different kind of stewardship. We are talking about the “mysteries of God.” We are talking about stewardship over something that has been given for the purpose of teaching to others.

What are these mysteries?  There are seven of them in the Bible and they are committed to preachers to teach to others.  I will briefly describe them as follows:

1.  The Mystery of Godliness.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

This verse is the greatest verse in the Bible on the Deity of Jesus Christ.  If you don’t have a King James Bible you won’t be able to find this mystery defined.  All other bibles change this verse in order to take away the deity of Christ.  They change the phrase “…God was manifest in the flesh…” to something else.  God being “manifest in the flesh” means that God showed up as a baby and later grew up to be a man. It cannot be explained how He did this.  Why? Because it is a mystery how it happened.  He came down to this earth as a baby, and a woman took care of Him, just like every other baby. He experienced every facet of growing up as a human male.

2.  The Mystery of the Indwelling Christ

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 Paul says, “This mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This means the “mystery” is that Jesus Christ is inside the saved man. It can’t be explained how, but if you are saved, then “Christ” is “in you, the hope of glory”. It can’t be explained how a sinless, perfect Saviour would stoop down to come in and dwell inside a wicked, sinful vessel.   Not only that, it can’t be explained how Jesus could be in a vast multitude of saved people all at the same time.  There aren’t many individual Jesus’.  There is one Jesus and he dwells within each believer.  This is a mystery and can’t be explained how it happens.  It is the mystery of the indwelling Christ.

3.    The Mystery of the Body of Christ

Ephesians 5:30-32 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

The Bride of Christ in this age is espoused to one husband so it can be presented a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2).  This means that every one who is a Believer is all espoused to the same person: Christ.  All men and women wind up married to Christ as one unit. How can you explain it? It can’t be explained.  It’s a mystery. As far as the spirit is concerned, we are joined to Him right now (1 Cor. 6:17). The marriage has already taken place, but as far as the body is concerned the marriage hasn’t taken place.  Our physical bodies are down here and His is up there (2 Cor. 5:6-8).  It can’t be explained.  We are supposed to believe it. Paul said, “This is a great mystery” (Eph. 5:32).

4. The Restoration of Israel

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

This mystery deals with the restoration of Israel. The mystery is that God is not through with Israel. And even though God may look like He’s through with Israel, He’s not! Someday God is going to take the Jews and bring them back to Palestine (He did that in 1948), and after the Jews have been reduced down to about four or five hundred people, God is going to get them saved in the Tribulation and convert them to Jesus Christ. That’s the mystery of the believing remnant of Israel which is going to turn to God. Romans 11:28-29 says that “as concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  This means that we should love the Jews.  Yes, some Jews out in the world are unlovable characters. It doesn’t matter what you think of them, you’ve got to love Israel and take care of it. If you don’t, the Lord will fix you.  In Christ “There is neither Jew nor Greek” (Gal. 3:28). When a Jew gets converted, he’s no longer a “Jew.” He’s a Christian.

5.  The Mystery of Babylon the Great

Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Revelation 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

She is a woman out in the wilderness seated on a beast.  The beast has seven heads and ten horns. This is a “mystery.” It is something you’re supposed to believe, but you can’t explain.

 The woman is a city that reigns over the kings of the earth. She has a golden cup in her hand full of abominations (Rev. 17:4).  And, she is arrayed in purple and scarlet. There is only one city that is built on seven mountains (v. 9), that reigns over the kings of the earth, whose symbol is a golden cup:  ROME. The Lord said that that city was a whore (v. 1). She’s a prostitute who sells herself for money. She has such influence that she runs the kings of this earth.  She will sell out what she believes and what she professes in order to get along with the world. She’ll let her own priests get killed in Africa if she can get control of Africa. She might even get in a black pope.

6.  Mystery of Iniquity

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

 The mystery of iniquity is the mystery of the Antichrist. His number is 666. He has a sign: it’s a kiss. He has a salute: its two fingers. He has a letter: it’s an X. And he has a name, a religion , a face, and a mark. There’s more information in the Bible on him than there is on any other man in the Bible outside of Jesus Christ Himself. He’s the Antichrist.

7. The Rapture

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The final mystery is the Rapture. It is the disappearance of the Body of Christ in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. There are two kinds of people. Those who are alive when the Lord comes are to be caught up without dying. Those that are dead will be pulled up out of the ground. If you’re mortal, you’ll be caught up without dying and then put on immortality. If you’re dead and buried when the Lord comes back, then you’re down in the ground rotting and you’re corruptible, and you come out of the grave and put on incorruption. The ones that are buried can’t stay in the ground. The live man goes up without dying; and the dead man goes up, and the grave can’t keep him down.

Do Whatever You Want!

How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master! Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that’s exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn’t move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word. With tearful eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.”

Every conscientious parent recognizes how difficult it is to exercise his God-given authority over his children. The delicate balance of being tough yet tender is not easy to maintain. Many parents intensify a rebellious spirit by being dictatorial and harsh. Others yield when their authority is tested. When a strong-willed child resists, the pressure to give in for the sake of peace and harmony can become overpowering.

I am reminded of the mother who wanted to have the last word but couldn’t handle the hassle that resulted whenever she said no to her young son. After an especially trying day, she finally flung up her hands and shouted, “All right, Billy, do whatever you want! Now let me see you disobey THAT!”

 Where our Captain bids us go,

‘Tis not ours to murmur no;

He that gives the sword and shield

Chooses too the battlefield

Where we are to fight the foe.

 One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.

I Am Crucified With Christ

Date Created: 11/8/11

Text: Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 INTRODUCTION:

There are stories upon stories about people who were addicts, got victory over their addiction and then returned to it once again.  Usually, each time when they return to their addiction, they fall deeper and deeper into it, until they feel so hopesly lost, that it is no longer an addiction, but life for them.

Christians too are such addicts, but they are addicted to something else.  They can have victory over it, if they learn one simple principle:  TO BE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.  They must crucify the root cause of these addictions.  They are…

1.       The Crucifixion of Death to Self.

Each Christian must come to the point of giving in.  Not just for salvation, but to defeat self and allow Him to lead us through this journey of life.  We must realize the cross is continually calling.  As it took the death of the Lord Jesus Christ to allow us eternal life, so it takes dying to self for us to come alive.  Being alive to Christ can only come by death to the world, self and sin.

A)   Self wants to  Control.[1]

Self is continually struggling to dominate control of our life.  When you get control of one area, self dominates another.  It is like the elephant trying to stomp out the hordes of bothersome ants.

B)    Self wants to Conceal.

(Isa. 29:15;  Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11)

The evil works of man are done under the cover of darkness.  Self wants to dominate your night.  It wants to bring you into the dark areas of your life and if it can’t bring you there, it will create them.  The way to combat self is to put on the armour of light–the word of God.  Then to stay away from them, therefore getting a bigger picture and being able to identify what is wrong with them.  Stay in the light.

C)   Self wants to Condemn.

Job 9:20    John 3:18    Titus 3:10-11

Self wants to condemn a person so they will live a defeated life; always feeling like they are good for nothing.  People convince themselves that there is really nothing wrong with them.  But, the greatest condemnation in the world is to not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour.  The good news is—all you have to do is just DO IT!.  Self can be ignored for a little while.  Once you have the Lord in you, you will begin the long series of battles for domination of self, not self domination.

ILLUSTRATION:

2.       The Crucifixion of Death to this world.

Galatians 6:14 

The saviour calls for daily dying because we live in the world day by day.  If we do not surrender our hands to the piercing nails which hold us to the cross, then we cannot be set free from the world.  We must ignore the world and abide in the suffering eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is possible to live in this world yet abide in the power of his resurrection.  Instead of living in a hopeless death, we do have the power to come alive.

A)   World wants to Influence.

James 4:4 

The world wants us to befriend it.  A little compromise here, a little there, then later a little more; and more and more, until it has completely influenced us to live as an enemy of God.  It’s influence is so subtle, that we don’t even realize it is happening to us.

B)    World wants to Infiltrate.

1 Timothy 6:17

The more the world can infiltrate our life, the more control it has upon us.  Practically speaking, this can be seen in worldly peer pressure: hair cuts, clothes, make up, music, talk, etc.  Why is it that Christians are not as submissive to Christianly peer pressure as they are to worldly pressure?  Because the world is infiltrating our lives in a much greater way.  We can turn that around by seeking more time with Christians and less time with the world.

C)   World wants to Inhabit.

2 Timothy 4:10 

When the Christian finally allows the world to “set up camp” in their lives (to inhabit), there is no desire at all for Christian influence.  THere may be token attempts to go to church once in awhile when times are bad, but their zeal and love seem to be gone.  When the world inhabits the life of a Christian, it is hard to begin living for the Lord again.

ILLUSTRATION:

3.       The Crucifixion of Death to Sin.

Sin’s influence on a Christian is not nearly the same as the world’s or that of self.  Sin is worst of all, yet for the Christian who has read his Bible, is the easiest to identify.  Simply put, sin is the bad things we do that we know God does not like; it is the things we do that make God angry.  We do not need sin in our life.  We must nail our sinful nature to the cross.  This is where it belongs.

A)   Sin wants to Separate.

Isaiah 59:2 

God can abide much, but He cannot abide sin.  Sin is too much for a perfect God to accept.  It is beyond His principles to accept it.  It must all be dealt with harshly. Because of its corrupting nature, sin must all be separated from Him; every single bit of it.  Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ who paid for our sin.

B)    Sin wants to Shackle.

Hebrews 12:1 

Sin ties us down so we cannot run the race for God that we ought.  It holds us back as we drag it around like so many spiritual anchors, trying to hold us in one place.  We must crucify it to the cross.  We must die to it to unshackel its weighty influence.

C)   Sin wants to Shame.

1 Corinthians 15:34 

The greatest shame that sin causes in the life of the christian is in not telling others how to be saved.  If the blasphmy of the Holy Ghost is not accepting Christ and getting saved, how much are Christians adding to this sin by not telling others how to be saved?

ILLUSTRATION:

4.       The Crucifixion of LIFE to Christ.

Romans 6:4-6 

I Live By God’s Faith

I Live By God’s Love

I Live By God’s Sacrafice.

A)   Life wants to Lighten.

John 1:4 

Living a crucified life allows you to see things like you never did before.  His wisdom shines through the muck and mire of the world, sin and self.  there are new discoveries and revelations of old things known.  all things become new by the light given from a crucified life.

B)    Life wants to Liken.

1 John 3:1-2

We will be called the sons of God.  We are likened to Him by our crucifixion of Sin, self and the world.

C)   Life wants to Live.

Romans 6:23 

Life is eternal and you can have it.  A defeated Christian can have it right now.  An unsaved person can have it right now.  all you have to do is to accept it.

ILLUSTRATION:

 CONCLUSION:

There is no greater sacrifice, than to be crucified with Christ.  Yet it brings life.

INVITATION:

What are you doing for the next Generation?

A college student challenged a senior citizen, saying it was impossible for their generation to understand his.  “You grew up in a different world,” the student said.  “Today we have television, jet planes, space travel, nuclear energy, computers…”

Taking advantage of a pause in the student’s litany, the geezer said, “You’re right. We didn’t have those things when we were young; so we invented them!  What are you doing for the next generation?”