Archive for Christ4Us

God’s Two Great Covenants

 Rightly dividing God’s word begins with seeing and honoring the contrast God makes between the two great covenants of the Bible.

The first or Old Testament was fulfilled when Jesus met the requirement of it, by paying the price for sin with His own blood. (Co.2:14; Mt.5:17-19; Ro.6:23; He.2:9,10)

The New Testament is now in force instead of the Old (He.10:5-9). Thus we keep the commandments of the New Will and Testament of Christ. (He.9:14-18)

Men living today are not to be judged by the Old Law given to Israel. (Co.2:14-23). We will be judged concerning faithfulness to the New Testament or words of Christ. The Gospel is the Law for all men of every nation. (Mt.28:18-20; Mk.16:15,16). Jesus said, He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (Jn.12:48).

While the Old Law was indeed God’s, it was given for old Israel to follow until Christ would come (Ga.3:16,19,22-29; He.10:1-10). We are blessed to live under the New Testament.      HJS

Share

A Soiled Reputation?

Someone has said, “A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep its eyes on the spot where the crack was.” But don’t lament that crack, if that be your lot, for it may be to your advantage in helping redeem the world. Consider 1Timothy 1:16 and Matthew 5:16. HJS

Share

The Name “Christian”

• Found three (3) times in Bible. Ac.11:26; 26:28; 1 Pt.4:16
• Implies discipleship. Ac.11:26
• New name of God’s choosing for His elect. Is.62:1,2; Ac.11:18-26
• Subject of prophecy. Is.62:2
• Demands persuasion. Ac.26:28; Ro.1:16; 1Cr.1:21
• Takes endurance & faith to wear. 1Pt.4:16
• It is a name of great honor and responsibility. Re.2:17
• Not given in derision but to be glorified & not shamed. 1Pt.4:16
• Given to signify God’s true chosen people and new nation today. Is.65:1-2,15-17; Re.3:12; Ga.6:15,16; Ro.2:24,28,29
• Bears the name of Christ.Ac.4:12

 Why wear any other name?

Are you a Christian?

Share

Sound Counsel

Authority for what you would believe and practice is essential for the security of your soul! (Matthew 15:8,9; 16:26).

Demand citation of authority and always look up Bible verses cited by teachers and preachers to see if what is taught is true. (Acts 17:11).

Share

When Iniquity Is Full

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:16)

After calling Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, God promised to give the land of the Amorites (Canaan) to his descendants. Abraham asked for assurance which God gave by devouring Abraham’s sacrifice in a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp (Genesis 15:8-17).  The Lord explained that the growing nation of Israel would prosper for 400 years, though in cruel bondage in Egypt (Genesis 15:13-15).  God promised to also judge and punish Egypt for her cruelty to Abraham’s seed. (Genesis 15:14; Proverbs 14:31,32).

Everything belongs to God, even animals and land on which men dwell. (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 50:10-12).  The land of God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants was occupied by seven nations who would be destroyed for their hateful iniquity. (Deuteronomy 7:1-10; Acts 13:17-19).  By metonymy the Amorites are put for those seven nations in Genesis 15:16.  The sins of the Amorites had not yet become so great that God would destroy them from off His land.  The Lord’s longsuffering and unwillingness to destroy the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:23) allowed these nations to continue to exist for a few more centuries.  In Abraham’s lifetime God would judge other wicked people such as those of the cities of the plain (Genesis 18:16-23; 19:24,25).  Lot’s family was warned to flee Sodom lest they be consumed in the iniquity of the city (Genesis 19:15).  Every nation will answer to God who also grants it power to exist.  There is no power but of God (John 19:11; Romans 13:1).

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. The king’s favor is toward a wise ser vant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame (Proverbs 14:34-35).

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (Psalm 9:17).

 Some have questioned how a good God could order the nations of Canaan to be destroyed and the land given to Israel.  The answer is that wickedness had become so entrenched in them, that God’s mercy and longsuffering had been expended.  He executed judgment upon them. Israel was only given the land on this condition.  God is a merciful, longsuffering Savior, but one day He will also be judge, jury, and executioner of unrepentant sinners.

The point at which iniquity so saturates a nation that God judges and destroys it is determined in the longsuffering but just heart of God.  He is the judge of all (Hebrews 12:23), including nations (Psalms 67:4; 82:8).

Once in the days of Noah, 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.  After much striving with man to repent, He destroyed the world with a flood (Genesis 6:5-8; 1 Peter 3:19-21).  After the flood, Noah and his family were given the earth to populate and possess.  He was not unrighteous to give Noah’s faithful family what He had taken from Adam’s unfaithful sons.  The wicked and slothful one-talent-man had his talent taken and given to another (Matthew 25:28).  The fleshly nation of Israel had God’s name taken away and His name given to righteous men of the nations (Isaiah 65:15; Acts 11:26).  Many examples of this just judgment of God are found throughout the Scriptures.

Are you living faithfully before God?  Are you contributing righteousness that calls and (for a time) grants sinners time to repent and turn to God?  Sin matters. Immorality or iniquity in society matter also.  When iniquity is full, God is just in His judgment and we can be assured His mercy has been sufficiently applied.  Are you living to fill up the cup of wrath or helping family, friends and your world drink of the Lord’s mercy?      HJS

Share

“Never Discuss Religion And Politics”

Is this really a good rule in conversation?  Maybe it’s good to avoid some confrontations, but surely not good when it comes to selecting civil leaders.  God has blessed us with civil powers (Ro.13:1-6) and a system that lets us choose good governance.  It’s only the Devil that would forbid us from discussing good policy or considering the experience and integrity of those who would oversee our lives and freedoms.  Equally the Devil would prefer that men associate lack of civility with the two subjects!

The Devil doesn’t want us to discuss the Bible either.  God calls for us to preach the Gospel (Mk.16:15,16) and minister grace unto the hearers (Ep.4:29).  How can a man be saved from sin except he first hear the Gospel? (Ro.10:13-17)  Satan would prefer we never nurture nor admonish our children in righteousness (Ep.6:4).  He had rather that our friends, neighbors and family be lost!

Can we not discuss and study the Scriptures together in love and civility?  God calls us to be speaking the truth in love (Ep.4:15).  What keeps so many religious people divided, impotent and confusing a world lost in sin?  We must teach, talk, and warn. (Jn.17:20,21; Ez.3:18,19)       HJS

Share

The Spirit Of God Gave Order And Light To Man’s World

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.(Genesis 1:2).

Just as God made the heaven and earth, so He gave it structure and order. Without God, the universe would not be inhabitable. The creation week as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2 show that the Godhead first fashioned the world to suit man’s physical needs, before the crown of His creation was placed upon it. Truly everything man may have or can be comes from the powerful, wise, benevolent, and loving “hand of God”.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).

How foolish that men attempt to understand the world, life and man himself without accepting God. The Spirit of God yet provides us the understanding, order and fulfillment we need in life. Consider Psalm 14:1; 39:4-8; 1Cr.2:8-13; 2Tm.3:16-17.       HJS

Share

God Created The Heaven And The Earth

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1).

Appropriately God and Moses began Israel’s instructions concerning life and God’s wisdom and right to regulate that life with this verse.  It is truth fundamental to understanding all things and especially to possessing all the blessings God intended for His creatures.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24-25).

Surely having made man, He knows what is best for man. In that He created all, it is wisdom and pleasure to submit to Him. Consider Psalm 100; Ecclesiastes 12:1,13,14 and Colossians 1:15-18. HJS

Share

Heaven Is…

Heaven is a place of treasures. Mt.6:20  The Hebrew writer describes it as a better country. He.11:16 It is a place of full rest! 2Th.1:7; He.4:9  In Revelation 14:13, John wrote, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”  There will be no tears, death, sorrow, sickness or pain in heaven! Re.21:4

It is a such an exceedingly glorious place, that nothing we could lose in this life to obtain it would begin to compare with its blessing! 2Cr.4:17  It is when we will receive glory! Ps.73:24  It is a place where our bodies will be changed like unto Christ’s and will be incorruptible! 1Cr.15:52-53; 1Pt.1:4 Heaven is in the presence of God and so a place of eternal joy! Ps.16:11  It is place where we may share the glorious likeness or Christ! 1Jn.3:2

Heaven is a place that only those obedient to Christ may enjoy.  “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rv.22:14  It is the promised reward only to the faithful in Christ. Ro.8:1,14,18; Re.2:10  The faithful, those who enter heaven, are those whom Jesus says do the will of my Father which is heaven. Mt.7:21       HJS

Share

How Powerful Are Your Words of Encouragement?

When Barnabas gave the example, encouraging other brethren to be generous in giving after Pentecost, none who had need lacked.  The same text says that he was surnamed by the apostles as “the son of consolation” or the son of exhortation (Ac.4:34-36).  The idea of exhortation is to entreat or strongly urge by words.

What if Barnabas had not encouraged Paul when the brethren at Jerusalem distrusted his discipleship?  Paul had formerly made havoc of the church (Ac.8:1-3; 9:1-2) and so understandably they feared him (Ac.9:26).  Barnabas exhorted the brethren to believe and presented evidence of Paul’s conversion.  He spoke up for Paul to the apostles as well (Ac.9:27).  Surely without the efforts of Barnabas, the work among these brethren might have remained tentative.

What about the nephew of Barnabas (Co.4:10), John Mark?  Leaving his mother’s home in Jerusalem, John Mark took a part in the first Gospel effort to which Barnabas and Paul were assigned by the Holy Ghost (Ac.8:1; 12:1-12; 13:2).  John Mark ministered to the church in Salamis on that journey (Ac.13:5).  However he returned home after the evangelistic company came to Perga in Pamphylia (Ac.13:13).  Some time later at Antioch, the apostle Paul invited Barnabas to go back with him to check on brethren they had earlier taught (Ac.15:34-36).  Barnabas again thought to take his nephew with them, but Paul rejected John for his earlier conduct. (Ac.15:37-40).  Luke tells us that the contention was so sharp between Paul and Barnabas that they went separate ways.  Paul went on the journey with Silas, but Barnabas had enough confidence in his nephew that he traveled with him to preach in Cyprus.

Rejection is often the “make it or break it” point in a soul’s conversion and falling. (Ga.6:1,2; 1Th.5:14; Co.3:21).  The decision of “the son of consolation” was a needed shot-in-the-arm for John Mark.  He was given opportunity to prove himself equipped for the work.  No doubt heard many paternal words from his mentor as they laboured together.  The words and work of encouragement that Barnabas rendered to “his sister’s son” did double-duty.  Paul would later rejoice, recommend and re-unite with John Mark, declaring “Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2Tm.4:11; Co.4:10).  

Encouragement may restore the fallen or spur one to greater faith.  Inspiration saw fit to record the powerful part the son of encouragement’s words and deeds were in building up the church and the work of leading so many then and now to the eternal salvation.  Second to the Gospel, encouraging words are the most powerful force to lead one to conversion or restoration of faith!

Is there someone you know who could use some words of hope and cheer?  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (Ja.1:27).  Is there someone you could move a little closer to Christ by your concern and consolation?  Perhaps the words of this short article can encourage you to be an encourager for Christ!  Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on (Ac.13:15b).

How powerful are your words of encouragement!      HJS

Share

Have you Noticed?

Aggressive atheists, religion haters, and others bold in their sin want to capture the market on religious truth.  They make strange claims to the effect that nearly nothing is sin, except maybe for when someone holds a belief of which they disagree or one takes a stand concerning Gospel truth. “The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools” (Proverbs 26:7).     HJS

Share

How A Father Saved His Family. Genesis 50:15-22

Israel was saved from starvation by the wisdom and providence of God through Joseph (Ge.37-47). And Israel was saved as a family by a Father’s instruction in forgiveness.  Genesis 50 shows us that forgiveness is a prominent Bible theme. (cf. Ge.3:15).

Forgiveness is the object and an essential element in God’s plan to save man and those man loves.  It must be received, practiced and demonstrated!  Like Peter, most, if not all of us wonder how to practice it (Mt.18:21f).  God gives instructions and examples to show us how.  Consider accounts of Philemon and Onesimus, the sisters at Philippi, Peter and Paul, and Paul and John Mark!

Surely forgiveness is as divine a subject as we could hope to study.  It is a divine nature that we must desire to partake. (2Pt.1:4-9).

And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. (Ge.50:15-17).

Here are lessons for the offender.  Guilt afflicts until forgiveness is sought. (Mt.5:22-25).  Things may get worse in relationship where forgiveness is not held as premium. (Mt.18:14-17).  And here are warnings for the offended.  Sin and lack of forgiveness can lead to hate.  Sin and lack of forgiveness can lead to revengeful attitudes.

If the offender would receive forgiveness, he should GO to the offended.  For our families to be whole, we must teach and command forgiveness. (Ep.6:4; Ge.18:19).  What we don’t teach while we are alive, they will not be trained to do when we are gone!

If we really desire forgiveness, we should go and ask.  If we really want forgiveness, we should confess our evil.  The children had seen Israel, the servant of God go, confess, pray for and practice forgiveness with his brother Esau. (Ge.32).  While tempted to be hardened in heart, God’s child must weep and pray over his enemy’s sin. (Mt.18:12; 5:43-48; Ga.6:1,2; Ep.4:31-32).

 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Ge.50:18-20).

 One truly seeing his need of forgiveness will not just ask but fall upon the offended one’s mercy. (Lk.15:18-19; 1Cr.7:10).  Humility and submission are essential to conversion and gaining forgiveness.  Often the offender weeps as badly as the offended.  There is pain with sin.  Consider Peter and Judas. (Mt.26:75; 27:3-5).

The offended needs to comfort the fear of the offender!  Doesn’t God do that for us? (Ez.33:11; 2Tm.4:2).  We know that forgiveness takes place in the mind or heart of God.  We must not judge or think of ourselves to be mightier than God. (Mt.18:21-35).  When forgiveness is not sought and/or not granted, there is great reason to fear. (Ac.8:22,23; 1Jn.1:9; Mt.6:15).

Why do we hang on to the evil done to us? (Ep.4:26).  Often God uses it for our good if we allow it!  Especially this is so if we meet “evil” with the right response! (Mt.18:15; Ja.1:2-4).  Billions may be living adequately fed, but miserable.  The same may be lost.  Maybe the evil and our right response will save many souls – maybe even our families. (Mt.5:16)

Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. (Ge.50:21-22).

Kind words and nourishing treatment are companions of forgiveness.  We must not fool ourselves if we think we have forgiven our mate but take our anger out on “the dog”.

Longevity is better when we learn forgiveness.  And longevity can be a reward to one who learns overcome bitterness and wrath.  Life can be disappointing and cruelly sad at times, but better to end it having practiced God’s direction in Luke 6:37.  Only when forgiveness prevails, can we be assured that our family can grow strong in faith, loyalty and size.

Joseph saved his family in time of famine.  Jacob saved his family in time of difficulty – by teaching forgiveness. (Lk.10:37b).  Our families will be saved long after our decease if we instill in them God’s plan and prescription for peace and forgiveness.  How many problems might be avoided? Unhappiness, bitterness, alcohol and drug abuse, runaways, and separations often are rooted in a lack of forgiveness.

Congregations surely need to practice forgiveness!  Some are physically divided and spiritually paralyzed for lack of it!  God and His church are all about forgiveness!  All nations and all “races” need it!  Every soul needs it and to practice it!  It’s been rightly said, “Forgiveness is not God’s problem.  It is ours!”  Please study Psalm 103.

Did you know that having been betrayed by family, but comforted with a family in Egypt, Joseph chose to name his firstborn, “Manasseh” meaning “one who causes to be forgotten“? (Ge.41:51).  Life is full of comfort, if we will only focus on it.  If I refuse to forgive or cannot forgive, could my problem be hate?  A person is precious, worthy and valuable as he is, not as he acts.  Do I have a forgiving spirit, like God?

Some are heard to say, “How can I forgive one when he has not repented?”  A more important and better question is “Will you be able to forgive one if he does repent?”.  Ultimately forgiveness rakes place in the heart of God, but He expects each of us to be peacemakers and those who would cultivate forgiveness. (Mt.5:7-9; Ga.6:1,2).      HJS

Share

One Way – The Lord’s Way

All who are saved today are saved by faith in Christ’s Gospel and baptism. (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:21).

All who are in Christ’s church get there one way – faith in Christ and baptism. (Acts 2:41,47; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

All who are God’s children today are so by the new birth, obeying the Gospel in baptism. (Romans 1:16,17; Galatians 3:26,27; 1 Peter 1:22-25).

There is not another…Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).     HJS

Share

What Does God Say About Baptism?

  • Fulfills righteousness. Matthew 3:15
  • Saves us. Mark 16:15,16; 1 Peter 3:21
  • Answer of a good conscience toward God. 1 Peter 3:21
  • For remission of sins. Acts 2:38
  • Washes away sin. Acts 22:16
  • How all become children of God. Galatians 3:26,27
  • By faith puts into Christ. Galatians 3:26,27
  • Entry point into Christ’s body, the church. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ac.2:40,41,47

With all the good things that God says in the Bible about baptism above, why do so many religious teachers denigrate it as a “work of men” and deny it’s necessity?  Consider the Lord’s response to Peter in this regard in Mark 8:31-33.

Concerning the baptism John taught and administered (Mark 1:4), Jesus asked, The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me (Mark 11:28-32).  And we ask concerning baptism as taught by Christ and His apostles, “Is it from heaven or men?”  Being from heaven, all men need to submit it to be saved (Mark:16:15-16).    HJS

Share

What’s Wrong With It?

Is there anything wrong with just following God’s chosen Bible-record of how men are saved?

Surely what He has chosen to record in the Bible is what He wants us to learn.

Would His purpose in giving that record be to save us?

Consider For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2Timothy 3:16-17).    HJS

Share

“Doctrine Is Not Important.”

Imagine if our child’s school teacher said, “The teaching is not important.”  Would you want your child taught by such a teacher?

Why do religious leaders say this when God’s inspiration had Paul say, As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” 1Timothy 1:3-4     HJS

 

Share

True Worship First Pleases God

The purpose of worship is to show devotion to God.  How could something be worship if it ignores what God requests and is done to please the “worshiper” in his own desires?  Love demands that we not ignore what God wants in worship for our own preferences.

When Cain chose to not make his devotion as God had directed, he sinned and the worship was refused.  See Ge. 4:1-7; He.11:4.  John says that Cain’s works were evil (1Jn.3:12).

When the priests, sons of Aaron, offered devotion to God in a way that God had not authorized, they were devoured by fire (Le. 10:1,2).  Moses reminded his brother that those who would approach God in worship must respect, or sanctify Him, so glorifying Him (Le.10:3).  God looks for men and women who will worship Him with true devotion and in the manner He prescribes.

Jesus said, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23-24).

If worship is made according to man’s preference and pleasure, but not as God directs, how can it really glorify or honor Him?  It cannot.  In truth, Christ warns that following man’s teaching in worship and not in true devotion to God is vain or wasted.  Read His condemnation of some in Matthew 15:8, 9:

Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

One does not worship God from the heart who exalts the teachings and practices of men (including his own) over God’s.  It cannot be in the right spirit or according to truth.  One must be concerned more with honoring God and His words than pleasing himself or others in worship.

It is possible to know how God desires us to worship Him; by studying and following the teaching and records of worship in the Bible.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2Tm.3:16-17).  Acceptable worship must first be pleasing to God.       HJS

Share

“No Greater Love Could Ever Be!”

No greater love could be behind God’s grand plans for man.  Consider that His love is the…

• Greatest love in sending His Son from heaven. Ph.2:•5-7

• Greatest love in letting Him be our propitiation. 1Jn2:2

• Greatest love in allowing Him to die. Jn.3:16

• Greatest love in that He forgives our sins and remembers them no more. He.8:12

• Greatest love in that He not only rescues from Satan and our sin, but gives us adoption into His family. Ro.8:15b

• Greatest love in that allows us to reign with Him. Re.20:6; 1:9

• Greatest love in that He prepared a place for us after death in His house-a mansion! Jn.14:1-3

• Greatest love in that He will use the same power that raised Jesus to raise us up to a celestial life. 2Cr.4:14; 1Cr.15:40; 1Th.4:17

• Greatest love in that all the vile and corruptible things troubling us, He will take away. 1Cr.15:50-54

• Greatest love in that even as we wait for heaven, we may do so in paradise. Lk.23:43

• Greatest love in that we will have bodies like as of Christ! 1Jn.3:1,2

A grand and glorious day is coming! Now our eyes are flooded with tears for mortality and corruption that abounds.  Then thoughts will ever be on joy, His glory and ours, immortality and incorruption! Truly He will wipe away all those tears from the eye (Re.21:4).     HJS

Share

“So Beautiful!”

  • A child nurtured to love and imitate the Lord. Ep.6:4; 1Sm.1:11,20; 2:18-21,26
  • Two people so devoted to God, that they work through problems, achieve greater love and stay devoted to each other until death! Ge.2:18,23; Mt.19:5,6; Ep.5:21-33
  • Families that rise up early, lay aside trials common to all, and unite together with others as a spiritual house to sing and worship in praise of our Father each week. Ps.122:1; Ac.20:1-8; 1Jn.1-4; He.13:14,15
  • Devoted souls never forgetting to be present and partake of the emblems of the death of the Savior who gave all for them. 1Cr.11:23-26
  • A man spending his days studying the Scripture, honing his heart to be like God’s, appealing to family and friends to share the great treasure of the Christian’s life and hope, and then one day peacefully departing to the “far better”. Ph.1:6,23; Ps.116:15; Re.14:13
  • A prodigal’s father waiting for his son’s return, running to him, rejoicing and restoring his child to his table and house. Lk.15:11-24
  • That God would give up heaven and His life for us, forgive our sins, adopt us as His children, dwell with us, share His glory and would be our God. 1Tm.3:16; 1Jn.3:1,2; Re.21:3
  • That we can sing over and over again, “‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!” and “Isn’t it grand being a Christian!  Isn’t it grand!”  So beautiful!       HJS
Share

Respect For Christ’s Authority

Jesus declares, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18).  By inspiration Paul wrote of Christ that the Father hath put all things under His feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:22-23).  Just as the head of the physical body is the source of authority or the controlling part of the body, so Christ has all authority in the church.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:17).

We should not doubt the necessity of obedience because Christ has all authority.  We shouldn’t question the need of baptism , for Christ said, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).  To question this statement or any other would be to question the authority of Christ.  Jesus asks, And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).  He is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).

No one can accept Christ without accepting His authority.  No one can really respect His authority without obeying His commands.  To question His right to command us or to fail to obey those commandments, places our souls in jeopardy.  Let us FULLY accept the authority of Christ.          HJS

Share

Got GPS?

Many find GPS (Guided Positioning System) indispensable for travel. A typical GPS contains the equivalent of a Rand McNally Atlas and shotgun rider all in one! The small revolutionary gadget maps our journeys and displays a constantly-updated-map. A voice (available in varying gender, languages and dialects) advises just in time when to turn left or right or make a legal u-turn! It can guide us directly to the nearest gas station, grocery store or congregation! A GPS can even be set to be a conscience, warning the lead-footed-driver when he exceeds speed limits!

Some say they never leave home without their GPS’s help! Would we take a trip that we had never taken before without a map, information or a reliable guide?

The journey to heaven requires GPS (God’s Positioning System). Man has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but God’s positioning system provides mercy and direction for forgiveness to all who will heed His will. He can put us back on the path to eternal glory via His word. His Bible is the most amazing device, written by over 40 writers over 1500 years and yet with amazing harmony of thought and purpose. It is the product of God who wants to put us back on the strait and narrow path and bring us safely home to Him, guided by Jesus and the Gospel (Mathew 7:13-21; John 14:6; Romans 1:16-17; Hebrews 5:9).

God’s Positioning System provides a compassionate assembly of saints with each saint striving for righteousness and to encourage fellow-saints to “love and good works” (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:14-21; Hebrews 10:24-25).

Talk about portability, adaptability and usefulness! GPS enables constant contact via prayers (1Thessalonians 5:21; Philippians 4:6,7). His word can be hid in the heart to avoid the hazards of temptation, sin and death. (Psalm 119:10,11). God’s Positioning System is essential protection – The Shield of Shelter as we travel life’s journey. (Ephesians 6:10-19; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Jesus admonishes us to take the strait and narrow path to eternal life. A wrong turn off His path can only lead to eternal destruction. Only the Father’s will (GPS) leads to heaven (Matthew 7:13,14,21).       HJS

Share

“Nature” Is Wonderful!

This is written on perhaps the coldest day of this winter. But doesn’t it thrill us to think of the many moments we have enjoyed viewing or basking in “nature’s” glorious presence! Spring fever will soon overtake many of us for those mountains, canyons, fields, oceans, lakes, streams, plants of beauty and the beasts. They provide delight, challenge and sustains us.

What we call “nature” declares the One even more wonderful – the Father of us all, the Creator of nature and every good thing we enjoy. The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead… (Romans 1:20a). The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1).

God also provides a fulfilling challenge to attain ALL of His blessings and our BEST potential in being like His Son. He sustains us and blesses us with every good thing in life. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17). His spiritual blessings do not go dormant with the seasons nor fade in their beauty. No man can contaminate or deface the greatest of God’s blessings. His Son, Jesus and the life we may know in Christ are the greatest of Our Father’s gifts. Jesus says, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).

By His word, the Bible and living the Christian life, we attain the blessedness our loving Father is waiting to bestow on us. All spiritual blessing under the sun are in the Son (Ephesians 1:3-6; Galatians 3:26-29). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9-13: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him….Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Maybe it is hard to think on parts of “nature” that seem dead for the the cold of Winter. Like in an hour of sorrow, our desires seem difficult to revive. But our Father knows and can provide every need we have and ones of cheer that will endure the ages. After-all it is He who has given us family, friends and the wonder of “nature”. Great comfort and delight can be known even in the darkest of hours to those who trust God. Another and far more glorious spring is yet to come to life for those who trust and obey Him.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4). Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality(1Corinthians 15:51-53). For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).

It is enjoyable to listen to a fisherman, hunter or outdoorsman tell about his love of nature and exploits in the wild. They speak about the nice crisp air of a Fall or Winter morning, the sights and the calm of being in the Arkansas woods, rivers and lakes. Outdoors men gain a great knowledge, appreciation and excitement for “nature”. For just a few moments, let’s contemplate another beautiful realm – heaven – God’s real country! Can you imagine the experience? Here is a poem about that from an author unknown.

What Must It Be Like?

What must it be to step on shore, and find it – heaven;

To take hold of a hand, and find it – God’s hand;

To breathe a new air, and find it – celestial air;

To be invigorated, and find it – immortality;

To rise from the care, and loneliness, and turmoil of earth into unbroken calm;

To wake up and find it – Glory.

Someone acquainted with the third heaven wrote, For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21). Amen.    HJS

Share

Have You Considered Making A Prayer Journal?

What Is A Prayer Journal?

A prayer journal is simply a notebook – collection of those things that we wish to include in prayer and arranged in a fashion to make them readily available for prayer.  Many individuals keep prayer journals of different sorts.  Some include written prayers.  George Washington kept such a prayer journal.

 Why Would I Want A Prayer Journal?

Do you ever feel frustrated about praying?  Do you feel you could pray more?  Do you find that sometimes you need help to know what to pray?  Does your mind ever drift or body drift off to sleep when you mean to pray in the evening?  Have you found that you forget to pray about somethings and people?  Do you believe prayer is powerful, often pressing and that you want to avail it more?  All of these concerns might be a reason for you to consider beginning a prayer journal.

A Simple Plan To Begin A Journal.

The journal proposed in this article is simple and adaptable.  It has three parts – an index, a daily prayer schedule/program, and topics sections.  In time one would perhaps like to add more sections than those suggested.  If used it will be populated with items that will help one stay spiritually steadfast and prayerful.  If it doesn’t suit one’s fancy, one might consult a bookstore, library or the internet for other forms and ideas.

This writer wills to begin his journalizing in an uncomplicated way, lest he falls behind and is discouraged.  A simple journal can still lend to his objective – help in prayer.  The exercise of daily use will surely be a source of delight and spiritual growth.

 How Is The Journal Organized And Used?

It begins with a small notebook (a spiral or even single sheets fastened together).  One might customize the cover for aesthetics.  It should be kept safe and private, lest some delicate matter become a subject of another’s gossip.

The first two pages become an index, so as to make the information readily accessible at prayer time. The remaining pages in the notebook will be numbered in order (3,4,5…).

Now one line is allowed in the index per topic (such as God’s Praise, Thanksgiving, friends, et.al.). The first seven lines are reserved for the days of the week.  The first seven index entries would be Sunday, p.3, Monday, p.4 and so on. New topics will begin with line 10 of the index and that first topic would be like this: Praise Our Father Deserves, p.10.  Remaining topic entries might include as follows:

Things for which I give thanks to God, p.11
Things that I ask God to supply, p.12
My needs, confessions, and forgiveness, p.13
My immediate family and their needs, p.14
My extended family and their needs, p15
My brethren, their families and their needs, p.16
Church meeting throughout the world, p.17
Local preacher, teachers, deacons, elders, p.18
Lost friends and family, p.19
Missionaries, other churches & brethren, p.20
Our nation, those in power (president, governor…), her needs, p.21
Servants (service people, teachers, fireman, policemen….), p.22
Other nations, people, and governmental leaders, p.23
Our world’s needs, troubles and sins (homeless, runaways….), p.24
Passages, examples, truths & thoughts on prayer, p.25, Back cover.

Under each of these sections, one writes appropriate notes.  For example, for page 16, “Brother John Smith’s uncle, Sam Smith – taking cancer treatments”.  When a numbered topic page becomes full and more space is needed (for example for those sick), simply place after the index entry the additional new page number where that topic continues. Inside the back cover of the journal/notebook one saves article clippings, and notes encountered on prayer.

Pages 3-9 (Sunday-Saturday) are divided into “Morning Prayers” and “Evening Prayers”.  Under those headings for each day, these three topics are listed each time: God’s Praise, p.10; Thanksgiving, p.11, and Supplication, p.12. Then the remaining topics from the index are parceled out under the various days and day parts.

One might choose to carry one’s journal to services so as to record prayer requests or take notes and update the journal as needed.  First the index is consulted for the page number where that particular information is being recorded.

Now one sets times when to say the morning and evening prayers using the journal.  The day pages (pp.3-9) provide the topics for each prayer and corresponding page numbers for the topic lists. The other times when one prays each day, one will likely find these thoughts coming to remembrance also.

Soon one will have a collection to ponder of passages, examples, lessons, articles, and brief thoughts on prayer.  If one thinks on these things (in prayer also), it will help one be who one should be. Ph.4:8 If one would be a student of prayer, one is sure to be a lover of prayer and perhaps one’s prayer would please God.

I am looking forward to beginning my prayer journal and the abundant blessings of prayer.  May God bless you.          HJS

Share

What The Prodigal Hadn’t Lost. Luke 15:11-24

 

Good Memories. v.17

     God gives amazing blessings in homes. Pr.1:8,9; Ps.42:11; Ep.6:4

Good Sense. v.18

     He examined the consequence of his folly. 2Cr.13:5; 1Cr.11:31

Shame & Humility. vv.18b,19

     Even our sins can humble and our shame in failing lead to humility. 1Pt.5:5,6; 2Cr.7:10

 

Dignity. Lk.18:13,14

     Dignity is seen in making a better self.

 

A Father’s Love. vv.20-24

     Hope for a home & father to love him. Ps.86:1-7; Is.1:16-20

The prodigal son received more than he expected! vv.20-24.  The father didn’t desire him as a hired servant but loved him as his son.

Here is a parable about man, sin, and our misconceptions about our Heavenly Father. vv.7,10.  In a sense then, it is a parable about and for all of us.

Have you strayed from the Father’s house?  You can come home.  Your Father waits to forgive and love you again as His child.           HJS

Share

Things That Save

What can save a man from the wages of his sin, which is death? (Romans 6:23).  God is the Saviour of all men. (1Timothy 4:10).  Christ came to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21).

We are saved as we live His life or the Christian life. (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11).  Through Christ’s shed blood we are saved from God’s wrath. (Romans 5:9).  His Gospel is the power of God unto our salvation as we live or obey it. (Romans 1:5,16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Hebrews 5:8-9). We are saved by God’s grace which teaches us how to live a faithful life before Him, doing His ordained works. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14).  Men are saved or justified by faith. (Romans 1:17; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-10; Mark 16:15-16).  To be saved one must do the works ordained of God. (James 2:24; Ephesians 2:8-10).  Hope sustains and saves. (Romans 8:24; Hebrews 6:11-20).  It gives reason to keep pure and thus safe in Christ. (1 John 3:1-3).

We may be saved by hearing words the Gospel. (Acts 11:14; John 6:68). By repentance we may know salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 2:38). Confession of Christ is necessary to be saved. (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32).  One must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. (Romans 10: 13; Acts 22:16). Baptism doth also now save us… (1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16).  We save ourselves as we obey the Gospel of Christ. (He.5:8,9).  With many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (Acts 2:40).       HJS

Share

“Gay Superheroes”?

My parents never wanted me to be reading comic books.  Other than hearing some classic superhero radio programs and seeing the camp television versions of the 1950’s/60’s, I have had little exposure to them.  As a child, my fascination for them ended, after a few failed attempts to fly, leaping off the front porch. These “superheroes” are just pure fantasy!

Even today, young and old would be well advised to make more productive use of time and mind by reading the Bible.  Learning, meditating and living in the “law of the Lord” will bring more delight and blessing.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3). “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:103-104).

God’s word reveals the origin of each of us, our purpose in life, the way of fulfillment, true love, genuine peace, and an “after life” that is far greater than we could even imagine or ask. (Ephesians 3:13-21).

Recently we have been told that D.C. And Marvel Comics have each decided to “out” a “super hero”?  Insiders say the publishers decided to take characters that have heretofore been unprofitable financially and reveal that they are practicing homosexuals.  This they do in hopes of appealing to that particular “lifestyle” and making the characters commercially successful.  For decades movie and television producers have been pressured to add “gay” or homosexual characters to their fair to make this sexual perversion more palatable to the public.  TV Programs such as “Will & Grace” have been instrumental in promoting these sins as a U.S. Vice-President has noted in glowing appreciation.

Homosexual behavior is sinful and wrong from a number of perspectives.  God has shown displeasure with unrepentant practitioners in past dealings such as the cities of the plain (Genesis 18; 19).  This sin is among those that brought God’s rejection of the nations (Gentiles).

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…” (Romans 1:26-28).

The nation of Israel was instructed to be different, separate and holy.  “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).  The New Testament describes these sins as “ungodly…filthy…unlawful deeds” (2 Peter 2:6-8).  How could a character be in anyway described as a “hero” that would promote this?

We would never call for ill-treatment of anyone in any sin.  God forbids us, but vengeance and judgment are His for those unrepentant of any sin (Romans 12:19-21).  We would not condone abuse for this or other chosen sin.  We do assert that when certain people “out” or “expose” someone for this sin, it is not to make that person a hero nor to do them service.  They are simply using the person to advance their power and/or political agenda.  The same can be said of the intentions of D.C. and Marvel Comics.  It is not a heroic move for those who practice homosexuality, but for profit-hungry publishers.  Laws and popular characters will never force acceptance among those who know better.  They won’t force God to accept what He says is sin.  Nor will it have this effect on His faithful.

The “rights advocates” promote distinction, division and hate for their own power and gain.  True Christians on the other hand will promote true and lasting love, mercy and forgiveness among men.  Of necessity, Christians must love by lovingly exposing that which condemns the soul and teach righteous living.  HJS

Share

Is There Prophecy In The Bible Concerning The Beginning And End Of The United States of America?

The short answer to this question is “no”.  Yet, one would be best to study the Scripture personally and comb through it again and again to see that there is no direct reference to the U.S.  The Bible is a finite book, therefore if one would read and study all of it, one would be able to know what is in it as well as what is not.  When a matter not revealed in the Bible is taught, it is merely the fantasy of men and not to be feared.  However when men speculate on things not found in Scripture it is a very perilous practice.

 

What should one do when one is disturbed by men predicting or teaching anything?  Like the Bereans we ought to search the Scriptures to see if it is so (Acts 17:11).  There have always been those who have taught things that the Bible and God’s word never authorized.  The serpent lied in the garden of Eden, saying Eve could disobey God and not fear death (Genesis 3:4-6).  Hananiah the prophet, died the same year he prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would end after two years.  He spoke what God had never authorized (Jeremiah 28).  The Lord warned Israel not to fear nor listen to prophets who spoke things that He never said would come to pass (Deuteronomy 18 :18-22). However the Bible does provide us all things necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

 

Without question principles of the Bible and religions of forefather were the basis of the formation of our nation.  Coinage, founding documents and principles reveal a trust in God’s existence and providence.  While founding fathers referenced the Bible again and again, the Bible does not address the founding nor a demise of the United States of America.

 

The Bible does address matters that pertain to every country including our own. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).  Many nations are mentioned and direct prophesies are made concerning them, such as Israel, Judah, Assyria, Babylon, The Roman Empire and so on.  They have come and gone, showing that God rules in the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:17,25,32; 5:21).  Jehovah is indeed, the “King of Nations” (Jeremiah 10:7).  But there is not one prophecy directed specifically toward the United States, nor any modern kingdom since the Roman Empire.

 

We should have a concern for the nation we have been blessed with by God. We should protect and work to keep it in a position of blessing.  Of greater importance to each individual should be his own soul and practice of God’s righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  Ignorance of the soul, righteousness and judgment will not save a man from his own sins. (Romans 1:16,17; 10:1-3). There is a greater law by which all of every nation shall be judged (John 12:48). HJS

Share

A Question To Ask A Preacher:

Preacher, do you teach and follow the apostles’ doctrine as recorded in the Bible only or do you also follow and teach a denomination’s creed or confession of faith? See Galatians 1:6-11.

Share

Must One Be In The Lord’s Church To Be Saved?

Many doctrines are taught on the relationship of the Lord’s church to salvation.  All cannot be right as many conflict and contradict.  The Bible does not contradict itself.  God does not lie. (Titus 1:2)  Our only sure source for the answers to our religious questions is the Bible.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

At the point that one is saved from his sins the Lord adds him to His church.  Notice Acts 2:38,41,47: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls….And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Membership into the Lord’s church is automatically obtained at salvation.  There is no need for a vote by a group of men or even for one saved to petition or join it.  The Lord takes care of this.  One who believes the Gospel and is baptized in His name or by the authority of Christ is saved and added to the Lord’s church.  Study also Mark 16:15,16; 1 Corinthians 12:13.  Yes, the Bible declares one must be in the Lord’s church in order to be saved.

The Bible teaches that those saved are also added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:38,41,47).  It declares that Christ is the Savior of the body, His church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23-24).  The way one becomes a member of the Lord’s church is the process that saves and makes one a child of God. By faith, repentance, confession of Christ and baptism one is saved (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 10:9-17; Acts 2:38-47; l Corinthians 12:13).

What of a teacher who says, “You don’t need to be in our denomination to be saved”?  Whereas the Lord teaches one must be in His church to be saved such a statement implicitly declares that denomination not to be the Lord’s church.  Some will say to you, “Believe only and you will be saved.” Later they encourage you to be baptized to become a member of their religious organization.  By this it can be seen that that religious organization is not be the Lord’s church which one enters at the point of faith and baptism.

The Bible shows that when First Century saints obeyed the Gospel in baptism God also added them to His church.  God, who is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35), will save us and make us members of His church today just as He did then. If not, why not?

 In the Bible, God records men being saved and added to His church. He makes not so much as one reference of any denomination!              HJS

Share

What The Prodigal Son Brought Home

Recall the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32?

What could he bring back to his father’s house?  When he left he took a generous portion of his father’s living with him, but had wasted it in riotous living.  It was all gone!  If he brought any food home, it would have been no more than a husk or two in his pocket or satchel, rescued from the hogs. The boy came back home without shoes on his feet!

But what did the prodigal son bring home to his father’s house?

He brought back a confession of his wrongs and a plea for heaven and his father’s forgiveness.

Now tucked in his heart were humility and penitence.  Selfishness had been replaced by respect, appreciation of the care at home and willingness to labor in service for father and family as they might need.

He brought the very best answer to a father’s prayers!  Without doubt, that swelled the father’s words of praise and thanksgiving for God’s gracious care and providence.

The prodigal came home with the comfort that the father’s arms had been longing for so long a time. “His father saw…ran, and fell on his neck…”

Yes!  Into his father’s house he brought merriment.  The father called out to his servants, “Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found!”

He brought back a sense of wholesome completeness to that home with his return.  The anguish, sadness and fear of his farther was replaced with relief and joy!

It gave exemplary proof to others that forgiveness and love reigned in the father’s home.

The reconciliation the prodigal brought home showed others the way home.  To have one son found and alive again, gave reality to hope for all in the father’s household.

Oh prodigal, do you know what you could bring with you?  Do you see the joy you can bring to the Father, your family and all the souls in His house and you, if you return?!  Please come home.     HJS

Share

The Stairway To Heaven

 There is a stairway that leads to a place wherein no man has entered but One. God revealed it to Jacob in a dream (Genesis 28:10-17). That wonderful place is the Father’s house – heaven. That ladder is Christ (John 1:51).

The climb is secured by a sure anchor for souls who put there faith in Christ (Hebrews 6:17-20).

There is a doorway that leads to an eternal and better existence. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep….I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:7-9).

A new day will dawn of life-eternal in Heaven for the man, woman, or child who will walk the new and leaving way, consecrated by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:16-23).

Will you put your faith in Christ and climb the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? (Philippians 3:13-15). Are you climbing the stairway to heaven? HJS

Share

God Says The Death Of A Saint Is Precious!

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints(Psalm 116:15).

Is it precious to you? While some of the most difficult times in our lives is when we part from loved ones, should it not be precious and comforting to know a loved one is “safe in arms of Jesus”? It is surely precious to God when a brother or sister dies, faithful in Christ (Revelation 14:12,13).

A saint is someone sanctified or called out of the dark domain of sin into the marvelous church or kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). A saint, and today a Christian is someone in whom Christ has invested all His love, life and death! (Ephesians 5:25-27; Luke 19:10; Philippians 2:5-8). Every accountable man has separated himself from the love and blessings of God by his own sin (Isaiah 59:1,2; Romans 3:23). When a man sins he becomes dead to the Father (Romans 6:23; Genesis 2:16,17). But the superlative love that God has for man led Him to become high preist, sacrifice and mediator between the Father and man (John 15:13; Hebrews 8:1,2; 1Timothy 1:5). Yes, Jesus even took joy in His own death that it might become the atonement for precious souls who could not other wise help themselves to be reconciled to God. (Ephesians 2:16; Hebrews 12:1,2)

People with no conception or faith in God may look at the death of loved one with a sense of love-lost, finality, helplessness and hopelessness. But our Heavenly Father can rejoice and take comfort in a child once lost but now found and returned home forever (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 15:11-32). John describes the place where God reigns thusly,

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (5) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).

How blessed we are that we can say good bye to loved ones and entrust them into the hands of such as our God! In the bosom of Abraham they are safe (Luke 16:22) and blessed until Jesus returns again to take them to the Father’s house (1Corinthians 15:24; John 14:1-3). Then we shall be joined together again with them – not as husbands, wives, but as the angels of God (Matthew 22:30) in heaven. Paul wrote of this reassurance and hope in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-13.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Oh, if we would see everyone as God’s children, needing to go home to the Father, how much better our understanding, living and outlook on life would be! (Philippians 1:21).

Though marred by our own sins, God has abundant forgiveness by the gracious atonement of His Son (1John 2:1,2). He has loving direction, abundant hope and companionship to help us complete our journey in this life, so that we may know the better without end (Matthew 11:28-30; 2Peter 1:2-11; Hebrews 10:24,25). He longs that we not be lost for sin but that we may know pardon and His grand blessings without end (2Peter 3:9; Ephesians 1:3). When one becomes a saint/Christian, he has more than the forgiveness of sins; He has the greatest and surest of hope.

No wonder God says the death of a saint is precious! The faithful child of God need not fear death, but live joyfully in anticipation of the glory to follow! Wherefore comfort one another with these words. HJS

Share

The Brick Wall

A man spoke of the beautiful antique bricks in the walls in his office. Once they were a “scattered, haphazard, useless mass”–an ugly pile of accumulated weakness. They were the remains of an old chimney, long ago crumbled down. The bricks in the walls were the same as those that had been on the ground. The difference was in the singleness and unification. The possibilities were always there – even as they lay in rubble. Ugliness was transformed into beauty and weakness grew into strength.

People are like that. One may be like the helter-skelter pile of bricks, but another, though made of the same materials, is like a straight, strong solid wall!

How can we pull our lives together and be strong? Who can help us attain peace and happiness that won’t crumble with life’s troubles? God made man and says “beauty for ashes”! (Isaiah 61:3). He gives us “all things necessary for life and godliness” in the Bible. (2 Peter 1:3). God has a plan for your present good and eternal welfare.

May we help you study to gain all God wants for you? Please come to the services of the Stuttgart church of Christ, as we “provoke one another unto love and good works”. (Hebrews 10:24,25).

*Story borrowed from Leroy Brownlow.

Share

Revival of Christ4Us.com!

Thank you for viewing Christ4Us.com.

This website is made possible by the fine brethren of the Stuttgart church of Christ, Stuttgart, Arkansas. Of course all blessings are at the Lord’s hand (James 1:17).

The site was down for a few years due to the writer’s inability to type and sit at a desk for an extended period of time without back, shoulder and hand pain. That being overcome for the time, we offer some articles and sermon outlines delivered in the bulletin and pulpit of the Stuttgart church. We hope these offerings are of help to you.

Please drop a brief note if you wish about using them and/or any brief comments or corrections that might need to be made. God bless.

HJS

Share

”Don’t Even Think It!”

Have you ever said that or heard someone say that? Usually it is said when an inconvenient thought logically arises, but you don’t want to talk of it for its unpleasantness. Sometimes you might say, “Forget what you are thinking.” They are expressions that highlight the fact that what you think determines what you may say or do.

Solomon wisely directs,Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter”(Ecclesiastes10:20).Thoughts as knowledge have consequences. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” was first contemplated by Eve before she did eat and sin (Genesis 3:1-24). What awful consequences followed!

Haman mulled in his mind the wrong he supposed in Mordecai. His scornful thoughts left him swinging on the gallows! (Esther 3:5,6; 8:7). Some people never get over another’s sins! The elder brother couldn’t enjoy the abundance of has father’s house for his bitter thoughts (Luke 15:24-32).

If you would have a pleasant, happy life – yea a life of abundance you must think and act on wholesome things (Philippians 4:8,9; John 10:10). Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Sin follows incorrect, lustful thinking (James 1:14,15). Apostasy comes from evil or corrupted hearts (Hebrew 3:12; Colossians 2:20-23; Matthew 15:8,9). So much of what is presented in media is incorrect whether it relate to immoral sexual behavior, violence or anger. (Mark 7:20-23). Angry thoughts lead to angry and hurtful words and deeds. (Proverbs 14:17; 29:22). It may be unavoidable to be angry at times, but it is a sin to be obsessed and possessed of anger. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Do you want to not gossip? Then don’t even think of what you shouldn’t ever say! But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14).

Do you want to have happiness despite sadness and evil in the world? Then don’t dwell on your cares. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.(Matthew 6:34).In fact, God invites you to cast your cares on Him (1Peter 5:7). Once placed on your Lord, isn’t it foolish to take those back and try to carry them again!?

So what should you think? You can focus on the things that bless and lead to wholesomeness. You know, “Count your many blessing”. “Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely” (Psalm 147:1). These should be your heart’s desire anyway and will bring delight to your mind. HJS

O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?”(Jeremiah 4:14).

=====

Share