October 26, 2019 · 3:11 PM
few years ago, while visiting in San Diego, California, a strange
site appeared at the edge of the bay. There were these irregular
rocks of various size and shape balanced to create numerous single
poles. To say the site arrested attention is an understatement. How
can this be?
It was then that I noticed the artist responsible
for the phenomenon. While watching him busily engrossed in his
creations, he paused to invite me to create a similar pole. With one
rock stacked in balance upon the first one, all else failed. No
matter how many times it was tried, the balance simply was not there.
My immediate response was that there was a trick to it; that these
particular rocks I was working with could not be so balanced to
create a standing pole. The artist smiled, picked up my rocks and
began balancing them one upon another to create the pole. I still do
not understand how he could determine the exact center of gravity
that allowed the rock to be in such perfect balance.
of that strange encounter illustrates another form of balance so much
more important. It is the balance of life that God calls upon His
people to live, a life of righteousness in a world dominated by sin,
personally, locally, nationally, and internationally. It seems the
very moment one feels he is really accomplishing that balance, up
jumps the devil, and once more the stark realization that we are
still sinners is blatantly announced.
Once there was a ruler
whose life failed miserably to measure up to that calling. His name
was Belshazzar, the last king of the world empire of Babylonia. The
words of his judgment were “Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin” which
translates, “Your kingdom is numbered and finished, You are weighed
in the balances and found wanting.” Immediately he was slain and
the kingdom passed into the hands of the Medes-Persians.
balance of life God requires cannot be understood nor accomplished at
all by carnal minded men. But the good news is that it is both
understood and accomplished by faith in Christ Jesus, in His person,
words, and works by our repentance from sin, placing faith in Him. Is
it difficult? To the unrepentant, it is impossible! Is it attainable?
Indeed it is, not by just one person here and there, but by everyone
who lives life in Christ. In that balance the believer is not imputed
with sin, as Paul wrote to the Romans in 4:7-8, “Saying, Blessed
are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” That, my
friends, is the perfect, spiritual balance of life bringing the
zenith of enjoyment and peace both here and hereafter. How is your
October 25, 2019 · 10:03 PM
title is paradoxical. To say that there is a church is to say that it
exists, but to say there is a church that does not exist is a
contradiction of thoughts. Yet, I have read about such a church, and
I am sure you have, too. In newspapers and magazines, it will not be
unusual to read of “the Baptist church.” This reflects a thought
pattern of the church being universal. Of course, expressions of “the
Catholic church,” the Methodist church,” etc. are more nearly
correct since Catholic and Protestant churches consider themselves to
be universal. Catholic theology points to a universal, visible church
while Protestants point to a universal invisible church.
which of these lines of theological thought do Baptist churches
generally subscribe? Neither! It is the Bible presentation that the
true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are both visible and local.
Each church is totally independent under the headship of Christ
Jesus. There is no ecclesiastical (preacher) authority. There is no
hierarchy. There is no little church/ big church difference in the
eyes of the Lord. All are local assemblies, answerable only to God,
with the full weight and responsibility of carrying out the commands
of Christ as though they were the only congregation on earth. The
only headquarters of the Lord’s churches is in heaven. His churches
have equal authority to win disciples, baptize them, teach them, and
administer the ordinances according to the Word. A church simply
cannot get any more independent than to have the independence God
gave to it to represent Him on earth. But, a church can get a lot
less independent by subscribing to false doctrines, practices, and
acquiescing to the designs and schemes of men. The purpose of such is
usually for the sake of “business advantage” and/or to capture
congregational power to enhance economic, political, and strained
theological activity that God never commanded or intended.
is no such thing as a biblically recognized, universal church on
earth whether visible or invisible! Jesus set in motion a local
congregation and empowered it to do likewise in carrying out the
Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20. I understand “Johnson Street
Baptist Church” or a church by some other name that distinguishes
it as a local assembly in a specific location or in a specified
dedication of service. I do not understand nor will I accept the
terminology of “The Baptist Church.” It is a church that simply
does not exist.
October 23, 2019 · 11:01 AM
every Bible student is familiar with the great sin of the Apostle
Peter. Peter was a man quick to speak and a little slow to think. It
seems that he had to say something on every occasion, and often what
he said was wrong. In that regard many of us today can identify with
Of course, what is remembered most is his boast to stay
with the Lord, and support Him no matter what the circumstances.
Jesus told him that before the rooster crowed he would deny Him three
times. That is exactly what happened. What must it have been like to
know that you not only denied, but cursed to emphasis that denial of
Jesus in the crucial hour of his trial and subsequent
So, what did Peter do that was so right? In tears
he repented of his deed as he realized the weakness of the flesh and
what can happen when real danger knocks at one’s door. His
repentance was genuine, and the grace of God was sufficient to
forgive him and restore him to prominent service in His ministry.
Peter would never be the same. However, his bitterly disappointing
sin was totally forgiven and he was so much the wiser for the
God’s Word teaches us that “If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. Peter sinned greatly, but
he genuinely repented, received the forgiveness of God and went on to
serve Him in a great and wonderful way. That is so right!
should never let past sins and disappointing deeds keep us from a
close relationship with the Lord. God is in the convicting business.
Additionally, He is in the forgiving business when one repents of
sin. He is in the restoration business of broken lives to meaningful
purpose in His great cause on earth. No one should miss out on the
fulfillment of spiritual potential in this life, and the reward that
it will bring in the next one.
Are you disappointed in yourself?
Are you disappointed in others? We are all sinners. We all disappoint
others from time to time. We also disappoint ourselves, especially
when we think we are strong, and we discount the weakness of the
flesh. It is not amazing that we should fail, but it is so important
that we repent, and go on in serving our wonderful Lord and Savior
Who loves us. In this, we can also identify with the apostle Peter,
and that is so right!
October 22, 2019 · 11:17 PM
of the annals of history of ancient Israel comes an interesting, but
little noted individual and event. In 2 Samuel 23:11-12 one is
introduced to one of thirty top warriors in King David’s army. His
name is Shammah. Although his name and claim to fame is little known
among nominal Christians, his service to God and to the king was well
known in his day, and it placed him into a sort of “hall of fame”
for David’s generals.
The 80 years of the combined reign of
Saul and David were years of war after war. Perhaps the most notable
of the continuous enemies of ancient Israel was the Philistines. When
they were strong, they would attack Israel in some of their weaker
places and take whatever they wanted including people. It appears
that the Philistines wanted a field of lentils that belonged to
Israelites, and they were willing to go to war to take it. The
Israelites including presumably the ones who owned the field fled
from before the Philistine warriors. But, Shammah did not. He stood
his ground and God wrought a great victory that day by his hand.
Interestingly, it was a bean patch he protected. Of course, a field
of beans ready or near ready for harvest represented a valuable asset
to the owner, as well and to the population at large in the
marketplace. More interesting is the name of the defender.,”Shammah,”
This is a Hebrew word that means “There.” Shammah was not flighty
or fearful. He was solid—he was there. He could be counted on in
any time of crisis. Indeed, the bean patch was important but more-so
was the principle of not giving in to those who would plunder and
steal. What did he do that was so right? Simply put, he trusted in
God to help him, and to give him victory. Notice that the Bible does
not say that Shammah won the victory. Rather it pointedly says that
God wrought the great victory.
Why is this recorded in the book
of God for all generations of the ages? It is not accidental, but
with great purpose. It is for us upon whom the ends of the world are
come, said the apostle Paul in I Cor. 10:11. True believers must know
that God and one still make a majority.
Do you run away in the
face of seemingly overwhelming odds or do you trust in God to help
you and give you the victory? If your trust is in God and you are
depending upon His promises, that is so right! It is following a
Bible example of many precedents of which Shammah is one.
October 19, 2019 · 9:44 AM
As a noun, “Boomerang” is a curved piece of wood that returns to the thrower when thrown. As a verb, it denotes the return of most anything to the originator, often negatively. A verbal broad brush tends to verbally paint the character of one into a perceived camp that is not good. David and Solomon address these matters of life preserved as the Word of God. Let them be heard!
Many are the times that one will hear the character of someone verbally painted into the same room as outright heretics because of some viewpoint not shared by the evaluator. Such swipes of the broad brush often go far to diminish the usefulness of another. It is a evil thing that Satan capitalizes upon, and one that will bring the unbending judgment of God in the day when all shall give account to Him. Then let there be understanding of just how evil this sin is.
Solomon repeatedly said, “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men.” Ecc. 6:1; 10:18. He said, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” Prov. 26:27.
The straightforward advice of David is, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” Psalm 34:14. In Psalm 50:19-20, he went on to say, “Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.”
In New Testament terms, broad brush actions are called “diablos,” of the devil. That word is translated “Slander” in I Timothy 3:11.
It is so easy to speak ill of another, yet so impossible to take those words back. Words one thinks to be his own are never under his control once shared. They take on a life with various skewing in the mind of so many who hear them repeated. Verbal broad-brushing may be likened to a robbery. Later, one may apologize for it, but it never erases the initial action.
Does this mean that anything negative should never be said about someone? Certainly not! God’s people have an obligation to know them who labor among them. Often much trouble could have been avoided if the truth about someone would have been passed on appropriately. But the bottom line is that such information should be handled very carefully. Too much of the time judgments are made simply because views may be out of the range of another’s knowledge or out of a feeling that the person so painted deserves it (judging). The latter here is broad-brushing, not the former.
In the course of life one will find that the person most highly appreciated tends to think a little differently. So, in all things let the truth be spoken, and if one cannot or is not willing to stand by it, then those words are much better off unspoken.
Boomerangs may be indigenous to Australia, but the verbal broad brush is not, and it will most certainly boomerang.
October 16, 2019 · 2:16 PM
at the top of intellectually stimulating reading in the Bible are the
books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. These books were written by
Solomon, Son of David, King of Israel. He remains the wisest sinner
who ever lived. His forty-year reign was the most glorious Israel
ever had, and the nation rose to the zenith of its history in the
construction of the temple and other works in a time of unparalleled
peace. So, one may wonder in view of these things just what did
Solomon do that was so right?
Usually, there are a number of
things in the lives of people that may be pointed out as the
underlying cause. However, it is often the more simple things that
become the most profound. Such is true in the case of Solomon.
Solomon was anointed King of Israel to succeed his father, David, he
understood the magnitude of the task before him was overwhelming. He
did not see his unique position as a springboard to fulfilling
fleshly desires and wallowing in luxury so commonly the failure of
many. Instead, he took the responsibility of his position quite
seriously, and felt unequal to the task. In that frame of mind,
Solomon earnestly prayed to the God of heaven for wisdom to lead His
people. He did not pray for health, wealth, fame or any of the other
common things men covet.
Accordingly, God both heard and
answered his prayer. Moreover, God gave Solomon much more than he
asked, including wisdom such as no man before him had possessed, and
no man after him would possess. In words Solomon himself would later
pen he said, “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.” Solomon looked to God, he trusted God, and
sought the help of God to fulfill the task that life had brought to
him. In these things what Solomon did was so right!
you? Do you operate in the power and wisdom of yourself? Do you trust
primarily in the advice of others? So many live their lives this way
and it is wrong. Do you look to God in prayer for wisdom to live life
as it pleases Him? Do you look to His word for instructions about
decisions you must make? If you do, then you are following the
example of Solomon, and that is so right!
October 15, 2019 · 8:44 PM
the earliest days of history comes a powerful point for everyone
throughout the ages. It is a point when well taken and observed, that
will bring goodness, joy, and appreciation of blessings without end.
So, just what is this powerful point? It is: JUST DO WHAT YOU OUGHT
TO DO! Think about it!
The story emanates from the lives of two
brothers, Cain and Abel, who brought offerings of worship to the
Lord. The story is well known. God rejected Cain’s offering, but
accepted that of Abel. Cain was exceedingly angry over the rejection,
but received the benefit of godly instructions which would rectify
his life, and included ample warning of any alternative. God
forthrightly told him: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be
accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto
thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Students
have often asked what this means, especially the last part of it.
in the form of anger and resistance to well doing had enveloped Cain
as a dirty shirt, or more to the point of the verse, sprung upon him
as a roaring lion. It lay at Cain’s door, and it lies at everyone’s
door. It does so because it desires to have each person as its prey.
Do not be deceived, sin really wants control of your life. Cain, and
everyone else, too, will rule over sin, and keep it at bay, though it
burn with desire for us, as long as commitment is made to God’s grace
in well doing. Just do what you ought to do! To objectify the
subjectivity of this statement, the Bible truth for all men is
Solomon put it this way as he concluded the book of
Ecclesiastes at 12:13.“ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole
matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole
duty of man.” That statement is true and applicable across the
ages. The apostle Paul wrote about God to Timothy: “Who will have
all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
I Timothy 2:4.
Making a long and wonderful story short, it is
the will of God that all men should be saved, and then go on to
serious discipleship through baptism, church fellowship, and
spiritual maturity in the university of Christ Jesus using His
textbook: the Holy Word. Thus will the awful sins of hurt, heartache,
and loss be avoided while the joy of faith, hope, and goodness shield
against the desires of the springing lion at the doorstep. How awful
are the cries of those who have, through foolish and selfish
decisions, become the victims of that crouching lion at the door. But
greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world. In well
doing one may resist the devil to the point that he will flee,
according to James 5:8. What all this translates to in simple terms
is: Just do what you ought to do!
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Tagged as Abel, Cain, offering, sin