What to Do

I don’t know about you, but is it becoming more common to find people who are more than willing to determine how people are going to think, which political decisions to make, what opinions to have, etc.?

Almost every day, somebody wants to tell me what to do. There is someone who tells me that I need to think more conservatively, or more liberally. There is someone who tells me what I should read, view on television. They are willing to shove their nose in my business and demand to know for whom I voted.

Just the other day, there was this one guy who said I couldn’t teach what Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

So, here’s what I intend to do with some of these people: I’m going to ignore them. I’m going to do what Jesus said, live the way he said, and remain faithful as he said my whole life. As for these other people who are so intently interested in making me think their way: forget it!


Great Day

Today has been so rewarding. But, of course, every Sunday… every opportunity I’ve had to preach or teach the gospel since 1988 has been rewarding. It’s just today, well, today we had three responses in two services.

It’s really interesting because even though it’s been a very humbling day: the power of God’s word is responsible for every response visible or invisible. But what happened was so attributed to the word, and not anything I did. In fact, my preaching was probably some of the most subdued I’ve ever done.

The young man who came for baptism this morning I had never met, but several people in the church had known him, prayed for him and were so happy when they saw him step out into the aisle. Evidently, some of our folks had known his need to obey the gospel and were rejoicing that he came.

The other young man who was baptized tonight walked up to one of our members last week and talked with him for some time. I had never met him, either. The Christian man who talked to him had several things in common with the young man and asked him to come to services. His choice to obey the gospel was unexpected from our vantage, but he knew it was time to surrender his life to God.

It’s humbling to see the providence of God working in humans. Sure, I’d like to take credit for what happened, but I can’t. The Lord God has been working providentially in the hearts of honest men. They chose to obey God. That was it.

I’m just thankful I was an instrument used to help these two complete their obedience. May God give me time and life so I can help them become his sons with powerful faith in their hearts.

We Submit!

Some people pride themselves on being speed readers. They are able to comb through documents at break-neck speed. It is indeed a truly talented person who can read dozens of words a minute and comprehend everything completely.

Sometimes, though, in the haste of scanning a document some valuable details may be lost. Small words may be overlooked that have important meaning.

In the second chapter of First Peter, there are a number of very small words that some may push out of the way that are important. The small contrasting conjunction, “but,” occurs nine times in the second chapter of that book. Contrast is important because we learn so much from it. Read the passage and then we’ll look into the importance of the little term the apostle used nine times.

Jesus was the living stone disallowed by men and crucified. Yet, he is the one who, as the cornerstone of God’s house, gives life to all who obey him. He was set aside by men, but chosen by God and precious.

Peter quotes Isaiah 28:16 in 2 Peter 2:6 to show some eternal truths. Christ submitted himself to the men who killed him in order to save us all. Humans believe when a person is punished it is because of guilt. But, Jesus was innocent. We, like Christ, if we have obeyed him and live as God’s children, will find ourselves set aside as he was. Notice how the apostle used the contrasting conjunctions in verses seven through ten to delineate the difference between the disobedient and the obedient.

Verse 13 is the heart. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance for the Lord’s sake,” the apostle wrote. The sum of the passage is simple: Christ submitted, and so we must submit. This is what Christians do, friends. We submit.

There are some who would like to fight every law, or grumble at every supervisor they have because they disagree. Christians can disagree, but we submit. We submit to the head of the government (1 Peter 2:17) or each other (1 Peter 5:5).

We submit because submission teaches the lost. It teaches other people what God prizes most highly: he prizes those who will obey him simply because they love him (John 14:15).

Submission has indeed been overlooked by the world, just as the people of Jesus’ day overlooked him. Instead of realizing he was the creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16), they dismissed him as an itinerant preacher. How wrong they were!

Let us remember the hallmark of the faithful children of God, the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, is that we submit.

The Lord’s Cup

Can’t say too much about the World Cup. I’ve never been too interested in soccer. Baseball and golf are my games. Although I can’t get that excited about the World Cup, I appreciate the fanatics who do.

It’s great to have a fervor for something. What happens when the season ends? Let me suggest a fervor that never needs to be reheated.

Learn to love Jesus Christ and make him the center of your life. Focus on his teachings, his words. Develop a fervor for what he offers: eternal life. Make sure everyone else knows how much you love and want to obey him.

Obey the gospel by believing in him, repenting of your sins, confessing his name and becoming immersed into him (Galatians 3:26-27). Then wear him all your life. He’s worth your time, your work, your excitement. You’ll never “cool off.”

Three Song Birds

Song+Birds++Sounds+of+NatureCan you identify a bird by the song it sings? While people may not be able to identify just any bird by its song, certainly there are birds that are easily identifiable.

If you were to hear the song of the whippoorwill, that bird would be instantly identified, wouldn’t it? The song of the bobwhite is from another easily identifiable bird. In the cool air of the morning, it’s easy to tell if a dove is nearby from its gentle cooing.

Clearly, we do not need to see some birds to be able to tell the ones we can hear.

There are church members that can be identified easily just by hearing about what they do.

There are the love birds who constantly take care of others because they deeply care. These birds are those who have taken to heart Jesus’ words in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one for another.” These birds can be heard on the telephone calling others and expressing their love with offers of encouragement and help. The hugs of these birds are felt each Sunday and Wednesday night as they apply the soothing ointment of love to those who need it.

There are the good works birds who are always doing good things. They do these good things because they understand the things they do are indicative of faithful Christians and those good works may create the correct definition of Christianity in the hearts of unbelievers. They do good works because they love the Lord (John 14:15) and because they know those things they do please him and build faith (James 2:22-24).

There are the wisdom-builder birds, a seldom-seen, but pleasurable bird because this is one that understands the beauty of keeping quiet and finding the right way. The king of Israel wrote, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God,” (Proverbs 2:2-5). This bird can be seen searching the scriptures each day. Instead of murmuring about its ills, it cries out for wisdom and understanding. It is a rare bird, but it is a beautiful one because it has learned to keep its beak shut and its ears open.

Are you one of these kinds of birds? How do people know your “feather?” These are three types of birds that will persuade others to become a Christian and live a faithful life. These are birds that will grow the church, and the church needs these if it is to have the kind of influence in the world that is needed so much!

A Cause More Needed

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was widely condemned by Americans. President Franklin Roosevelt termed the United States, “was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,” in his war message to Congress.

The Japanese ambassador was waiting in Secretary of State Cordell Hull’s office at the time of the attack. Hull was angered by the sneak attack. After war was declared, thousands of men voluntarily enlisted in the military for the express purpose of taking revenge on the Japanese.

More than 2,000 people were killed on December 7, 1941. By the end of the war, more than 100,000 Americans were killed and many times that number of Japanese.

Another war has been raging for centuries. Its death total is in the untold billions. Each attack is craftily planned and deliberately carried out by complete surprise. The enemy is Satan and the casualties are the lost. This is surely a cause more necessary and more important. It is a war that needs to be fought every bit as much and more than the wars of history.

Why aren’t more people angered by Satan’s attacks? Why aren’t more people mobilizing against this enemy who is responsible for more eternal casualties than all the wars combined?

The United States rose with one voice and one purpose to defeat Germany and Japan in the Second World War. We should rise with one voice and one purpose to obey our Lord Jesus and save as many souls as we can before this enemy takes one more victim!