Category Archives: Commentary

SIN AND RIGHTEOUSNESS SIMPLIFIED


 

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

It is true that some folk have the mindset of concrete: thoroughly mixed up and profusely set. They would argue with the proverbial signpost, but they cannot argue with God, neither may they box with Him because their arm is too short! So, it is not the burden of men to convince one another that they are sinners. The Holy Spirit witnesses that in every heart. But the idea of sin may be better understood in the simplistic terms of “Use” and “Misuse.” Think about it!
Get it straight, and never forget it! God is righteous, but men are not. If men are not righteous; they are sinners, big time! Some jovial chap will roar that all sin is sin, and there is no difference! Others will say that there is no difference to God. I find it amusing that so many seem to know the mind of God in these matters without a specific scripture reference. Stay with me for a moment.
If all sin is the same, why are there at least three categories of it: transgression, iniquity, and sin? Psalm 32:5. If all sin is the same, why were some sins worthy of death, and others could be atoned for? If all sin is the same why did Jesus say the Pharisees would receive the greater condemnation? Certainly, one sin of any sort severs one from God as Adam and Eve sinned in Eden. But, beyond that the saints have to deal with their sinful nature every day of their life, and there is a wide array of sins. So leaving “Iniquity” and “Transgression” for another time, let us focus on the term “Sin.”
“Sin” means “to miss the mark!” To miss the mark of anything assumes the mark was intended to be hit, but missed. Thus, sin is the misuse of every possible thing in life.
Think about the common sins of men. “Greed” is the misuse of things material or immaterial acquired in access, and restricted to the individual, when enough of those things are already made available for one to serve and honor God day by day. It is use vs misuse. Alcohol and drugs were made by the same God who created everything else. They have a purpose: medicinal, not recreational. It is a simple matter of use vs misuse. Sexual activity was created to insure the survival of the species, thus placed within honorable perimeters. Outside of those perimeters it is misuse; hence, sin. Language may be loving or vile; a matter of use vs misuse. Human Relationships may be gentle, kind and loving or abusive, harsh, and mean. It is a matter of emotional use vs misuse. In the wide spectrum of all things, the apostle Paul boldly declared, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” I Cor. 10:23. In short, all things God created have purpose and rightful use, but the practices of men have established misuse; it does not edify. Simply put, it is sin!

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NEXT TO GODLINESS


NEXT TO GODLINESS

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

There is an old saying often heard a generation or two ago: “Cleanliness is next to godliness!” If applied to one’s spiritual life, there may be something to it, but most often it was understood to apply to the physical body. Maybe that was due to the weekly bathing most did due to a lack of running water, especially hot water.
As the idea applies to the body, I never did believe the old saying was true. However, there is much to be said of it when one applies it to the spiritual life.
Sin is always represented as vile, filthy, reprehensible, etc. Even the goodness of natural man is that way in God’s sight. Notice His estimation of man’s righteousness in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
On the other hand, true righteousness is represented as cleanliness. It is here that the old saying finds it true meaning. As the Lord chastened His people through the prophet Isaiah, He admonished: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isa. 1:16-17.
In New Testament times when Jesus was rebuffed because His disciples were eating without washing their hands, He taught quite plainly that it was not what entered the body that defiled a man, but what came out of it. Matt. 15:11, 20.
It should also be noted that the apostle Paul explained to the church at Ephesus that His church was so loved by Jesus that He gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. Eph. 5:25-26.
The apostle James doubled down on this great truth by stating,”. . . cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8. Presented here as the essential action to be close to God, he introduced the idea by saying, “Draw night to God, and He will draw nigh to you. . . “
Obviously, it is essential for every person to repent of sin and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as the only personal Savior, but perhaps the appeal is most often written to God’s own people to enter the strait gate an walk in the narrow way. How that is done is pointedly revealed by the ancient psalmist in Psalm 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy Word.”
Truly, a clean body smells better than a dirty one, and it is often essential to good health. But the cleanliness that is next to godliness must reference the very heart to be realized as true. How clean is your heart?

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SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE


SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
A childhood memory is that of the simple joy of reading comic books, and one in particular: Donald Duck. It seems Donald had a rich uncle who was also very stingy. He had accumulated so much money that it filled a swimming pool. This uncle (scrooge by name) loved to dive off the diving board into the pool of money and wallow in it, throwing it into the air and immersing himself in the sheer glee of it all.
This little story is at best crude, but it does have a way of illustrating the marvelous, fathomless grace of God toward his creation, and specifically mankind.
The word “grace” is commonly defined as “Unmerited favor.” It is first employed in the Bible in Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The law of first mention is that a word finds its clearest meaning in the context of its initial usage. Here and throughout the Bible, it is clear that great favor of a totally unmerited nature is bestowed upon mankind. It is favor that builds upon itself as it finds welcome acceptance in its beneficiaries.
Certainly, Noah did not merit the favor of God, but this favor (grace) was bestowed upon him by which he escaped the global flood, and repopulated the earth.
The multiple instances of grace being bestowed on various saints of old would require a sizeable book, but suffice it here to fast forward to the New Testament where the word and its meaning takes on expanded appreciation, though remaining far from our comprehensive understanding. As the apostle John presented the Word in the first chapter of his gospel, he spoke of this abundant grace. Moreover, he recorded the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus: “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1: 16-17.
In an attempt to better understand the idea of the phrase “grace for grace,” most scholars say this means grace piled on top of grace. Another likens it to the continuous supply of manna to the Hebrews in the wilderness wanderings. By grace it was there this morning, and by grace will be there the next day to replace what was used. But in the writings of John, it is contrasted with law which came by Moses. Thus, it is conveying the unmerited favor of the New Covenant: the church, the faith once delivered to the saints in contrast to the law and its penalties of the Old Testament. It is favor beyond that of spiritual salvation to that of comprehension to the point of spiritual maturity. It is unmerited favor piled upon unmerited favor. To a submissive people to Him, it is as David of old said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19. What a spiritual pool of grace we have in Christ Jesus! Enjoy the swim!

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Second Chance


It was Sunday, March 13, 1977, and a group of people from our church, including my wife and I, were preparing to leave for a ten day tour of Israel and the cities of Rome and Amsterdam. I don’t remember if I hugged my mother as I said goodbye to her, but I probably did. However, at almost twenty-six years old, I was too old to hug my father. I’m not even sure if I said, “I love you,” before we boarded the motorhome that would take us to Little Rock. From there we would fly to New York City and then on to Amsterdam. The trip was enjoyable and uneventful, that is, until the following Sunday, March 20, 1977.
I remember that day as if it had just happened. We were getting ready for a day of touring and worship services when, shortly after seven o’clock, our pastor called and asked if he could come to our room to talk with me. I agreed but told my wife, “I hope he’s not wanting me to read a verse of Scripture or lead in prayer somewhere with all these preachers here.” (I was dealing with God’s call to preach at the time.) When our pastor and his wife arrived at our room, he informed me that my dad had been in an accident. He said he had fallen off a ladder and broken his leg and was in the hospital. This both concerned and confused me. I wondered, “How tall was the ladder? From what height did Dad fall?” That’s because my dad was always pretty tough, and what might cause a major injury for some would hardly phase him. Also, I could not understand why Dad was in the hospital with a broken leg. I had a broken leg once, and, yes, I was taken to the hospital to have it x-rayed and have a cast put on it, but I was not admitted as a patient.
Our tour continued, and finally we left Israel and flew to Rome. I think it was there that I first talked to my mother about the accident, although I did not get a lot of additional information. Our next stop would be Amsterdam again, and then home, and I was anxious to get back and check on my dad.
The day finally came to leave Holland and fly back to the United States. I remember the excitement I felt when the pilot announced that we had just entered U.S. air space. Just about every passenger on that KLM 747 began to sing “God Bless America.”
After a layover in New York City and a late flight toward home, we finally arrived at Adams’ Field in Little Rock. It was late when we started back to Texarkana. On the van ride home I learned a little more about my dad’s injuries. Not only did he have a broken leg, but he had lost the end of his right thumb. My wife and I arrived at our house around two in the morning, and after a restless night I was ready to go to the hospital to see my dad.
The next morning I met my mom at the hospital where she had spent every night since the accident in the ICU waiting room. My dad was in ICU! Upon arriving at the hospital, I learned the full extent of my dad’s injuries. He had fallen around thirty feet, not from a ladder, but from an electric pole. Yes, his leg was broken — into about a hundred pieces. He had lost the end of his right thumb. It was literally ground off by the asphalt when he landed with his right hand under him. His right hand was broken. His hip was out of joint. His pelvis was broken, and his scalp had been torn off. He had been give eight and a half pints of blood on the day of his accident as he spent from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in surgery. Two weeks after his accident, when the doctors were finally able to get good x-rays, they found that he had a hangman’s break in his neck. He spent eight weeks in the hospital and many more weeks recovering at home. Dad made as full a recovery as one could from such a horrible accident, but, with his right leg about one inch shorter than the left, he walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
In March of 1978, we went to Israel again. This time, as we prepared to leave for Little Rock and our flight to New York City, I was not too old or too much of a “man” to hug my father goodbye and tell him that I loved him. I had been given a second chance to show my dad how much I truly loved him, and i was not going to take it for granted.
I did, eventually, start preaching and pastoring churches, and until just a few years ago none of them were near where my dad lived. But, when we would come back to Dad’s for a visit, before we left to go back to our home, I would hug Dad and say, “I love you.”
Dad died on October 13, 2008. I had talked to him at 6:25 a.m. as I did every morning. Other than his saying that he didn’t feel well, things seemed normal. Less than three hours later I received the phone call that no one wants to get. It was my brother tell me that Dad was gone. The last thing I said to my father was, “I’ll talk to you later.” (I had told him “I love you” when we had talked the night before.)
I was given a second chance to publicly demonstrate my love for my father. It is neither childish nor unmanly to do so. We do not know how long we will have our parents with us. (My mother died in 1995.) I am thankful that I told my dad (and my mom) how much I loved him while he was living and could hear it. It makes being without him a little easier to bear.
If you are young, or if you are older, and you still have your parents (or a parent) living, take time today to say, “I love you, Mom, Dad.” As one who is now a parent of two almost grown children, I can tell you, it will mean more to them than any gift you could give them.

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THE EVENT THAT CHANGED THE UNIVERSE OF MANKIND


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
THE EVENT THAT CHANGED THE UNIVERSE OF MANKIND

This is a story of extreme opposites: of love and hate; of joy and despicable shame; a consummation of the crowning act of victory in experience marked “finished” from the foundation of the world. It is a story of the ultimate encouragement and motivation of God’s people in every generation until the age is closed. It is a story that will be the song of the saints while eternal eons roll ever onward in the endless bliss it provides.
Here then is the story so powerfully condensed in the words of Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It is a story of love and hate. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting live.” How deeply did and does God love the creative work of His own hands, especially the crowning act of it all, mankind. Yet He patiently endured such great contradiction of sinners against Himself. It is also a story of joy and despicable shame: “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the same.” What enormous joy is that of the post resurrected Jesus. While His crucifixion and resurrection was predetermined and foreordained, the experiential side of it all is the grandest story of the universe. Shame? Indeed much shame! How may one fairly estimate the shame of one sinless voluntarily taking upon Himself the sins of the world, and bearing the consequences of it? Though minor compared to this, how much shame was endured on the cross as a beaten body near death was lifted up as a scoffing point to the world? How much shame was endured as He was stripped of His clothing for rogue soldiers to gamble over, while He must die in sight of all in nakedness, bearing the full force of sin for others?
Yet, it is a story of encouragement and motivation for His people in every generation of the age. It is He who is both author and finisher of our faith. We are to look to Him in this crucial event, and we are to rejoice in His victory, lest we become weary and faint in our mind, which too many have done.
Here then is the story that will be the song of the saints in the never-ending, day of the final heaven age. It is recorded in Rev. 5:9, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people , and nation.” Then again, Rev. 5:12-13, “. . . Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. . . “ AMEN! AND AMEN! WHAT A STORY!!

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WILL DIVINE RECIPROCATION MAKE YOU HAPPY?


 

William A. Dillard
Parson to Person


Some questions are so important that one must know the answers. One question to which I refer is resounded in Holy Writ, but it is also penned quite pointedly in the lyrics of a classic hymn. “What will you do with Jesus, neutral you cannot be. One day your heart will be asking, ‘what will He do with me.’” Could there be a more relevant and pressing question on a greater number of people than this? Jesus plainly declared that those who deny Him, He will deny before the Father. Matt. 10:33. 


Jesus needs to be in the forefront of life.  Think about this incident. “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: “The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” John 12:20-21. It occurs to this writer that the wholesale rejection of organized religion by the majority of our nation’s population is partly due to the obscurity of Jesus. Please consider: 


  * Great edifices with stained glass windows and air conditioned environment are pointed to with pride, but where is Jesus? 

* Social programs designed to busy one abound, but where is Jesus?  

* The determination to present a non-offensive religion a lost society may keep the pews warm and the coffers full, but where is Jesus? 

* Pulpits may be ablaze with educated homilies, but where is Jesus?


    Strong witnessing and preaching about Jesus is needed! Men must know they are lost without Him, and that His sweet grace is freely offered to them for the trusting. 


Consider the contrast of long ago with today’s society. Zacchaeus was so excited about the possibility of seeing Jesus that he climbed a tree to do it. Believers were so excited over the prospect of bringing a palsied man to Jesus that they cut a large hole in the roof of the house where He was. Multitudes followed Jesus to hear Him, and to witness His works without regard for food or lodging. 

Today, people are so complacent about Jesus they are more likely to go fishing or to visit relatives than to meet with Him for worship. They will avoid any discussion of the need of salvation among their fellows for fear of being considered a radical. Often church meetings are esteemed so unimportant that members will look for excuses to be absent. Is the power of God diminished, or have we faked people into the church who are incapable of spiritual appreciation and excitement? 

These things may be easily dismissed by nominal, worldly-minded “Christians,” but judgment flies toward earth on swift wings.  Dear friends, “What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be! One day your heart will be asking: ‘What will He do with me?’”  Will you be happy with reciprocation?

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WHICH WAY IS FORWARD?


WHICH WAY IS FORWARD?

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Which way is forward? This may seem a silly question on the surface, but the answer is not so simple and clear as one may wish it to be. Motion itself may not always be forward, and not knowing the difference can be disastrous.
An automobile cross country race hosted many contestants. Each car had a driver and a navigator. The race route was through difficult terrain. One car was decidedly ahead of the others when an unmarked crossroads was approached. The driver demanded to know which way to go. The navigator said he did not know. He said that he was so sure that they would never be in the lead that he neglected to study the route. There were roads to take, but two of the three would not take them forward to their goal.
Another unlearned driver was proud of his just acquired automobile. He was so proud that he wanted to show his buddies that he could out race them. In the course of his attempt, the car came apart. To hear him tell it, he put the gear shift lever into “D” for “drag.” As he picked up speed, he realized he was not outrunning his buddies in their cars, so he shifted the lever into “R” for “Race” and that is when it all started to come apart, so he quickly shifted it into “P” for “Pass.” and that was the end of it.
Now if this appears ridiculous, just survey what makes a lot of religions “tick” and it will seem fairly sane. In short, motion or activity does not necessarily mean a person or group is making forward progress. Jesus indicated this as he described the religious generation into which He came so long ago. “And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I like the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” Luke 7:31-32. They were zealous of activity for the sake of activity, rather than being zealous of practicing strict adherence to the will of the Lord so plainly revealed in the Bible. God’s viewpoint of “forward” is activity within His holy will. That kind of “forward” is inclusive of the old paths; of waiting on the Lord as described in Isa. 40:31. Here then is walking and running without weariness; a perpetual renewing of strength; the direction God calls “forward.”
There are a lot of churches and religious groups who think they are churches wallowing in the pitfall well-meaning, but carnal, religious activity. Such becomes religious protocol, and it fosters a staleness that will turn embers into ice cubes. God’s ways are tried and true, and a must for every believer. They are as God told Moses, “. . . Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Exo. 14:15. We should follow life actions designed by THE BOOK!

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New Genetic Discovery Turns ‘Settled’ Evolution Science on Its Head


New Genetic Discovery Turns ‘Settled’ Evolution Science on Its Head

BY BENJAMIN ARIE
JUNE 8, 2018 AT 2:31PM

The left seems obsessed with touting “settled science.” From the theory of evolution to global warming, or its newer replacement “climate change,” liberals frequently pound textbooks with fanatical enthusiasm, smugly dismissing anyone who dares question pre-approved narratives.

As any true scientists understand, however, “settled science” is an oxymoron. Science is an ongoing process — not a set of perfect answers. Just don’t tell Al Gore.

Over the last several weeks, that point was made once again when one of the core assumptions about evolution was shown to be untrue.

Two scientists just published a discovery that calls into question many of the tenets of Darwin, and seems to vindicate people who have been pointing out flaws in evolution theories for decades.

Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland […] together published findings last week sure to jostle, if not overturn, more than one settled idea about how evolution unfolds,” reported Phys.org, a major research news site.

It is textbook biology, for example, that species with large, far-flung populations—think ants, rats, humans—will become more genetically diverse over time,” the source explained.

To the chagrin of many, it turns out those textbooks were wildly wrong.

A study of widespread DNA samples conducted by Stoeckle and Thaler found that genetic diversity among billions of humans and millions of birds “is about the same,” in the words of the lead researcher.

That flies in the face of what evolutionary science has taught for years — namely that genetic diversity increases dramatically over time, setting up the conditions for natural selection, described by Darwin, to occur.

For years, scientists have assumed that animals have evolved at hugely different periods in time, each essentially on its own developmental “path.”

It has also been long assumed that many animals roamed the earth long before human arrived.

But the new study found something amazing: The animals on earth today seem to have come into being at the same time as humans.

In analyzing the (DNA) barcodes across 100,000 species, the researchers found a telltale sign showing that almost all the animals emerged about the same time as humans,” Phys.org explained.

90 percent of the species on earth, including human beings, all came to be in the last 100,000 or 200,000 years, a relatively short time span to evolutionists.

This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could,” David Thaler, one of the scientists behind the study, declared.

Think about that for a moment: While he eventually concluded that his past assumptions were wrong, this scientist has just admitted that instead of following the data to their conclusion, he “fought against” evidence that didn’t fit an existing narrative. So much for the claim that scientists are impartial.

How does one explain the fact that 90 percent of animal life, genetically speaking, is roughly the same age?” Phys.org asked. “Was there some catastrophic event 200,000 years ago that nearly wiped the slate clean?”

The science news site specifically steered clear of mentioning faith, but it’s worth noting that many religious people have long believed that a cataclysmic event like a flood took place in the not-so-distant past. There’s also the possibility that creationist theories would answer the “clean slate” question.

Almost everyone has heard the term “missing link.” This is the fabled “in-between” stages that link different species, such as ape-like animals and humans.

If evolution theories are correct, there should be numerous examples of these missing links. In a puzzle that has perplexed theorists for decades, however, there is little evidence of these in-between creatures.

The recent DNA study came to a similar conclusion: The “missing links” are still missing, even at the genetic level.

Another unexpected finding from the study (is that) species have very clear genetic boundaries, and there’s nothing much in between,” explained Psy.org. “The absence of ‘in-between’ species is something that also perplexed Darwin.”

The major takeaway from all of this isn’t that every piece of evolutionary theory is wrong, but rather that “settled science” is a myth.

Every time someone is mocked for raising legitimate questions about global warming, evolution, or even modern medicine, it’s worth remembering that science is always wrong more times than it is right.

That’s the point — in order to be effective, the scientific process must keep correcting itself, and find past assumptions that turn out to be incorrect. The science is never settled, and anyone who says otherwise is a snake-oil salesman with an agenda.

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EVANGELISM AND THE GREAT COMMISSION: THINK AGAIN!


EVANGELISM AND THE GREAT COMMISSION: THINK AGAIN!

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Ask any person who has been an active member of a Baptist Church for any extended period of time to define the Great Commission. He/she will tell you right away that it is the marching orders of the New Testament Church to preach the gospel in all the world: to make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them the commandments of Christ Jesus, citing Matthew 28:18-20 as a proof text. That answer, accepted as correct by most all Baptists, and a lot of non-Baptists, too, begs amplification.
First, consideration must be given to the realities of the religious scene of these latter days. Modern times are filled with religion whose worth is based not on origin, doctrine, and dedication to the Bible, but on numbers of participants, and dollars in the church coffers. It is a criteria of worth spelling disaster. The ingredients so necessary to bring both to a state evoking carnal swooning, succeeds in producing a religious country club out of what once was a church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its purpose is shifted mainly to providing an exclusive comfort zone for its members; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
One of the ways this comes about is in redefining biblical terms to fit a more modern, humanistic mindset. Take the terms “evangelism,” and “disciples” as examples.
“Evangelism,” is a Greek word transliterated into English. It literally translates to “Good News” in English. It is the word that gives us “gospel” which is a term that has evolved in English from “Good news,” or “Good story.”
The term “Disciple” comes from the Old English and Old French languages, and it designates a learner. The term in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek work “Mathetes,” designating one who is increasing in knowledge, being informed; to learn by use and practice. (common Greek lexicons).
It should be obvious by now that the burden of this article is to underscore a vast difference in the term “Disciple” as in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, et, al. to the way it is commonly employed in modern religion.
The terms “Evangelism,” and “Soul-winning,” are accepted as the home run of disciple making rather than first base.
To be sure, one may be born from above in a moment of time, being bathed in repentance from sin, and faith in Christ Jesus, but that alone does not a disciple make, even though being a disciple of Jesus is predicated upon it.
It takes time, patience, and a lot of good, sound teaching to make a disciple. Such are the ones who continue in the Word, and will perpetuate to the next generation the faith once delivered to the saints.
Blessed indeed is the church that is heavily involved in making eternal disciples rather than in erecting temples that decay.

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MAN-UP


MAN-UP

1Co 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

2Sa 10:12  Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

I. TOUGHEN-UP – Life is not always fair nor is it always easy. At best all of us struggle from time to time with experiences that we have beset us. Anger is not a help in negotiating the pitfalls of this life. Time and thoughtfulness and the Word of God applied can get us through any situation. Your way is not necessarily the best way. Attitude and appreciation are two very important items in getting through difficult situation. Sometimes we need our attitude adjusted to appreciate what we have received or the situation we are in.

II. STAND-UP – It is a simple thing to stand up when a woman or the elderly enter a room. This is common courtesy and decency. This item in not about that. It is addressing standing up for what is right and decent and morally acceptable. It also address the idea of when we have done something wrong, stand up and admit it with humility instead of striking out at those that correct you. Babies strike out because they don’t know better because they are, well babies. They suck a bottle. Be a man. Stand up and say – I did it, I am sorry, I was wrong and I deserve the punishment that I will receive. I will strive to do better.

III. GET-UP – Get your day started off right, Get Up and Make Up your bed. That is your first accomplishment of the day. If you can not accomplish that small thing, there is not much else you can accomplish. Get Up and get yourself ready for the task that is at hand. If it is a job first thing in the morning, get up in time to get dressed and eat and get to work 15 minutes early, eager to earn your money. This will be a recommendation to a better job with better pay. Do not be a quitter. When a prospective employer sees a quitter, they know you won’t be long working for them before you quit.

IV. SHUT-UP – Shut up. Learn when to speak and when not to speak. It is never good to react immediately with the first thing that enters your mind. You need to take the time think seriously about your reply. Most immediate replies are defensive replies spit out in anger. They are hurtful and often make little sense. There is a saying – It is better to remain quiet and be thought stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Continual badgering will not influence parents that truly love you. It will turn bosses away from you and bring you closer to being fired. There is always a warm body just waiting for you to get fired so that they can get your cushy job and maybe even do better work than you do. Just SHUT-UP.

V. LISTEN-UP – Listen to others. If you want others to listen to you, then learn that you have 2 ears and 1 mouth. That means listen more and talk less. If someone said, you put your arm between those two wheels and it will break your arm, that is the voice of experience. Experience is the best friend you can have next to your parents. Your parents are the best you can have. What does experience do for you? It keeps you from having broken arms, broken legs and broken heads. Your peers, your friends your age can never give you the guidance and direction that a parent or older person can give. They have traveled this road you are about to travel. They have a wealth of knowledge. They have had the broken arms, broken legs, and broken heads. There is more though. A broken soul. Do you know what a soul is? It is emotions and mental abilities. These can be broken. They can also be fixed if one is willing to listen. They can be fixed if one is willing to be loved deeply and return love. This comes with experience. Parents and old people have that experience of broken hearts and deep felt emotions that bring tears and weeping. They have experienced broken hearts because of children going astray and possibly being hurt and ruin their lives. They struggle each day because of their desire for their children to not suffer what they have suffered and not to hurt the way they have hurt. This is a reason to LISTEN-UP.

VI. WISE-UP – To what is going on around you. There are many pitfalls in life. We must be aware of them. There are characters that say they are our friend but would lead us to destruction. Destruction of our character, destruction of our reputation, and destruction of our very lives. Let me tell you what a true friend is. A true friend cares for you so much that he will not lead you to do immoral or illegal things but will instead warn you to not do those things. A true friend will help you to do the RIGHT thing. A true friend will not be rebellious against the authority of parents, school officials, police officers or those older than you. Surround yourself with good friends and learn from them and make them the best friends you have.

VII. GROW-UP – There is nothing worse than being around a teenager or adult that is a whiny, crying, sullen brat. My dad used to say to me – act your age not your IQ. The assumption that is made is that teenagers are maturing and becoming responsible men and women. Sometimes that is not true. They are remained bottle babies and pout and sulk when they don’t get their way. Your age might indicate that your body is maturing but the mind is still in that stage where you are sucking milk from the bottle. You are a bottle baby. A big body with a baby mind and attitude. It is time grow up and move toward man-hood or woman-hood knowing that when we reach that magic age of 18 that we are ready go out in the world and make it on our own. I find it interesting that so many that are called men and women today that are 18-30 years old are living in mom and dads basement because they could not cope with the real world. A man 30 years old was taken to court by his mother and father to get an order for him to move out of their home.

IX. PAY-UP – Pay what you owe. Pay the Lord first. He is worthy of a minimum of 10% of your income or allowance. One you learn this then pay for the bills you make. I received a ticket one time and told my dad. He said, you got it, you pay it. If you don’t have the money, you spend that time in jail. I knew my dad was serious. If I went to jail, I knew there would be no visits. I knew I would be blessed if dad would come pick me up after they let me out of jail. Dad would not be proud to have a jailbird as a son. As long as you have a job pay up. Save enough to treat the family to ice cream cones once in a while. You driving? Pay for your own gas and pay the extra insurance on the car and be a man about it and quit your belly-aching.

X. DRESS-UP – There is not need to look homeless or like a slob or a jock all the time. Dress-up. A man in a suit is very impressive and shows maturity in choice of dress. A man in a Polo type shirt or a button up shirt with a nice pair of slacks is acceptable anywhere. Dress-up to go to church, that is what a mature man does. It honors God. Dress-up when you go to events and to town. It shows a measure of maturity and an amount of responsibility when in the presence of others.

May we show others our maturity by the way we live our lives. It is a day when slovenliness is practiced and accepted. Let us be a man and model our lives in such a way that other say, – NOW THERE GOES A MAN.

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