1/10/14

From Ben Fronczek... James (Part 11) There is Always Tomorrow, or is There?



James  (Part 11)    There is Always Tomorrow, or is There?


In the past I have had the pleasure of conducting Bible studies and sharing the Good News about Jesus with a number of different people. And in doing so I have to admit it is a joyous occasion when the light bulb came on in a person head. They began to understand who Jesus is; the fact that He died for their sin, that they can be forgiven and become God’s child, and have the hope of heaven. They come to believe that if they accept Jesus as their personal Savior, do their best to turn from their sin, confess Him as the new Lord of their life, and then allow Jesus to remove those sins in the watery grave of baptism, they will be set free from all their sin and have the hope of heaven.

What I find extremely sad is when someone learns the true about Jesus and how to be saved, and really believes it all, but then outright refuses to do what they know that they should do, and they put it all off to another day in the future when they think that they can be a better Christian.
Many years ago when I worked with the Saratoga Church, my partner and I had a Bible study with a middle aged lady. She loved the Bible study and learning about Jesus and really understood not only how to become a Christian but also what it meant to be a Christian. But after it was all said and done, she told us that even though she understood it all she did not want to become a Christian at that time because there were some things in her life she did not want to give up doing. She said that maybe sometime later she would become a Chrisitian.
It seemed like only a month later we got a call and we found out that this lady got sick with some weird disease and died suddenly. If I remember correctly both my partner and I shed some tears that day because she had turned her back on Jesus thinking that she had more time.

In James 4:13-16 he write, 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.”

Ten years ago Thursday my dad died suddenly. He was out working in the greenhouse and came in for his morning break and told my mom his stomach felt upset. My mom, brother, and son when back out to work while he stayed in the house.

My mom came back to the house a little while later she found my dad’s lifeless body on the floor. We were told that he died of a massive Aortic Aneurism. One of the main arteries going to his heart had a blowout and he died almost instantly.

It was a couple days before Easter and in the greenhouse it was one of the busiest times of the year. It was a time to make some money after a long slow winter season.  I think about what James wrote the man said, “Today or tomorrow we will  carry on business and make money.” And God responds by saying  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

We work, and drive our self crazy trying to get ahead and make more money. We worry, we fret, we are afraid about what is going to happen tomorrow yet there is a good possibly you may not even live to see another day.

You may think, ‘Ah that won’t happen to me.’  That’s what my dad thought. He thought he was healthy and had plans for his future. Many die suddenly everyday thinking they have more time; probably more than you realize!

Did you know that in the USA about 33,000 people die each year in car accidents. That breaks down to about 90 people per day. It could suddenly happen to any one of us this very day.
Here is a statistic you may not know about: an estimated 325,000 people die each year, or about 9300 people per day from (SCA) Sudden Cardiac Arrest. It is a leading cause of death in the United States where people suddenly die because their heart stops. 9300 people per day that expected to live longer.

And then those who die of Aneurysm which is a sudden killer as my dad found out:

- Aortic Aneurysms about 15000 people die of them per year

- Abdominal Aneurysm about 15000 people die of them per year

- And Brain Aneurysms claim about 20000/year, all without a warning.  So that’s almost another 1000 per week who die suddenly from aneurysms

As James put it, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”         

Now I did not set out to scare you today, rather…

#1.  I want you to face the reality that we may not have a tomorrow, or another month, or another year. Life is frail, Like a mist that’s there one moment and gone another.

And #2.  James makes his whole point by stating, 15 Instead, we ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”    In other words, it’s all about God’s will not ours. Our life is truly in God’s hands.

What went wrong with the man in James story? In the middle of all his plans he left out God. He forgot to seek the face of the One who created Him. He forgot to determine the will of the One who sustains him. He forgot to seek His blessing as he went off to work.

How many times do we do that? In all of your plans do you asked God if what you are planning is ok with Him and something He will bless? As we plan for the future of this Church, are we asking what God’s plans for us are?

When you look at verse 13, there was nothing wrong with the man planning on going to a city. There was nothing wrong with planning on staying there for a year. There was nothing wrong with planning on starting a business there. There wasn’t even anything wrong with planning on making some money from that business. So what was wrong with the man’s plans? He left God out. He thought he was going to do all that on his own. He forgot that without the Lord, he’s really nothing.

He forgot that even if all of his business plans worked out, his life was but a vapor. He could be the most successful businessman on earth, but that didn’t really matter if God decided his life should end.

He should have  considered making God a partner as he made his plans.

What about you? When you make your plans do you considering God and His will in light of what you want to do?

Have you laid your plan before Him in prayer? And when you pray do you listen and watch for His response? Or do you just push ahead like a raging bull no matter what anyone else thinks, including God.

As I see it, inquiring of God shows how important He is in our everyday life, not just on Sundays.
I personally believe that God is not only concerned about our soul’s eternal destiny; I believe He is also concerned about our everyday affairs and how we conduct our lives in His kingdom. And I also believe He wants to bless us, but He have to put Him and His will first.

And to do that we not only have to seek to learn and understand what He wants of us  in His written word and through the promptings of His Spirit in us, we also have to be do our best to accept and do His will as we live and work in His kingdom..

We have no promise that we will have tomorrow and so we should live like this day is the most important of all; as another day to bring glory to our Father. .

 And if you make any plans, ask God about them. Ask for His approval and blessing. Even consider the advice of other godly men and women you consider wise in the kingdom.  And if it is not God’s will, pray that He will slam the door shut and make it real obvious to you.

Every day that God gives you and me, every day He allows us to live is a gift. Its another day to live, and enjoy our families. It’s another day to be creative or  do something good. It’s another day to show mercy and express love. It’s another day to enjoy what God has created for us in nature.   We can either enjoy those things and use the day to His glory or focus more on our own selfish will and desires; like the man in James’ story.

It’s ok to make plans, work hard, to try to earn and good living in what little time we do have. But if we are to learn anything from this text I hope that you will learn to partner with God in all that you do.

Also realize that you probably should not put of to tomorrow what you should do today.
And if you have not become a Christian thinking that tomorrow will be a better day remember what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:2 where he wrote, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

Each time I drive past the cemetery in back of the Target and Staples stores in Saratoga I remember that lady I studied with who is now buried there. Like when we buried her, I still remember what she said, “I don’t want to become a Christian now; maybe later.”  Later never came for her!

Do not put off doing God’s will, and do not forget to seek His will out for your life.


For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... Open theism and God the omelette-maker

Open theism and God the omelette-maker

"Open theism" or "relational theology" is a knee-jerk reaction to a hyper-Calvinism that's when it's done talking makes human life and existence into something like God playing himself a game of chess with humans as little more than pawns. There ought to be some biblical response to that nonsense but the dithering Sovereign that's offered by the "open theism" view is no biblical response. "Open theism" is more more than a poor response to hyper-Calvinism—it's an attempt to defend God's reputation by showing us that he's not responsible in any sense for the suffering in the world. We have all the suffering in the world because God tied his own hands and lets creation unfold as it will while he runs around bringing good out of evil if he can.

I believe God can make an omelette and lemonade at least as good as anyone else. So it’s no surprise to me that when eggs are broken he can make a stunning omelette out of them or if life hands him a lemon he can make the best lemonade make-able. I don’t mind confessing that; bless me, I don’t mind proclaiming it, because I see it written all over scripture but the God I read about in scripture is more than a short-order cook and lemonade-maker. He isn’t pictured as ceaselessly running around trying to make the best of this or that situation in a chaotic world—he’s presented as the Sovereign, the Lord Almighty whose over-arching purpose can't be thwarted.
I don’t think that God’s will is the only will that operates in this world of ours. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that our own human and often evil wills are operating at full speed with terrifying effect. This is old news.

There’s a silly view that continues to make the rounds even in Christianised circles. The view suggests that Bible people didn’t really take secondary causes into account and so they laid everything at God’s feet. Had these people understood or at least taken seriously secondary causes they wouldn’t say about everything that God "did" this or "sent" that. They would lay the blame right where it belonged, at the feet of humans. And if it were a natural calamity (like a tornado or a drought or a flood) they would put it down to chance, random forces. If they took human and natural forces seriously they wouldn’t always lay the occurrence at God’s feet. The view is nonsense.

These ancient Israelites knew how rainstorms gathered, they knew the politics of various nations and their expansionist agendas. They knew fine well that people acted out of lust and envy and material greed, abusing power and privilege and that all that affected lives. Do we think they were idiots? We use to hear that Bible writers talked of miracles because they didn’t know much about the laws of nature. Can you imagine? They spoke of the Virgin Birth of Christ because they didn’t know how babies were made? These people knew very well about the natural order and about social unrighteousness but they also knew that the sovereign Lord was at work in history and nature working his holy and redemptive will. So they laid things like natural calamities and wars at God’s feet and said he was responsible. In fact, they often quoted him as saying he was responsible (see places like Amos 4, Isaiah 10 and Habakkuk 1). They didn’t talk in terms of God always going around making the best out of a bad job that we have done. That’s certainly an aspect of the truth and it’s perfectly biblical to say so but that truth is part of a larger truth that insists that what God "allows" he wills to allow.

Was Joseph’s thirteen years in exile in Egypt an exercise of sovereignty or was it God omelette-making with already broken eggs? Did God watch the brothers take Joseph into Egypt and then respond to their evil by bringing good out of evil or was Joseph right when he said, "You didn’t send me here; it was God who sent me here"?

Was Assyria’s all-out war against Israel and other nations an exercise of God’s sovereignty or was it God merely making use of a harsh reality that happened without him? Or did the prophet quote God correctly when God said, "Look, I send Assyria against a nation that has made me angry"?
Was the cross of Jesus Christ an exercise of sovereignty or lemonade-making? Did Pilate and the boys decide to reject and railroad the Christ, God saw it and in response to their action turn it into something that reconciled the whole of creation? Or was Peter right when he said God delivered Christ to the cross and that Pilate and his allies were doing what God had foreordained to happen (Acts 2:23 and 4:25-28)?

Joseph’s brothers freely chose to do evil, Assyria freely chose to wage war against Israel and Jews and Gentiles freely collaborated to do unspeakable evil. But in their doing what they wickedly wanted to do God was graciously and righteously doing what he wanted to do!

Should such talk frighten us? Why would it? If God were like Stalin or Papa Doc or Vlad the Impaler I’m certain it should. But God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If that doesn’t assure us, nothing will. If we can’t trust that God, look at life and say, "Be still my soul, the Lord is on our side" then there is no comfort to be found.


©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.

From Mark Copeland... Family Matters (1 Timothy 5:1-2)


                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                         Family Matters (5:1-2)

INTRODUCTION

1. In his instructions to Timothy as a minister of the gospel, Paul
   counsels him on how to treat the members of the congregation - cf.
   1Ti 5:1-2

2. The figures used in this passage presuppose that we...
   a. Are indeed a family
   b. Should act accordingly

[In this lesson, I would like to expound upon that thought.  First, as
Christians and members of the body of Christ...]

I. WE ARE INDEED THE FAMILY OF GOD

   A. THAT WE ARE THE FAMILY OF GOD...
      1. Was alluded to earlier in this epistle - 1Ti 3:14-15
      2. Was taught by Jesus during His ministry - Mt 12:46-50

   B. WE BECAME MEMBERS OF THIS FAMILY...
      1. By doing the will of the Father - Mt 12:50
      2. By faith and baptism - Ga 3:26-27
      3. By being "born again" of water and the Spirit - Jn 3:3-5
      4. By being "adopted" (to use a different figure) - Ep 1:3-5

   C. WHEN WE BECAME MEMBERS OF THIS FAMILY...
      1. Some might have been cut off by our physical family - Mt 10:
         34-39
      2. Yet we gained a much larger family - Mk 10:28-30
      3. Included in this family are:
         a. God as our Father in heaven
         b. Jesus as our "elder brother" - He 2:11-12
         c. All Christians as our brothers and sisters

[This is a wonderful blessing we can enjoy now in Christ, if fully
utilized.  Yet with blessings come responsibilities; this is especially
true when it comes to the family of God...]

II. WE SHOULD TREAT ONE ANOTHER AS FAMILY

   A. OUR TEXT DEMONSTRATES HOW...
      1. From a young person's point of view, they should treat:
         a. Older men as fathers
         b. Older women as mothers
         c. Younger men as brothers
         d. Younger women as sisters
      2. From an older person's point of view, they should treat:
         a. Older men as brothers
         b. Older women as sisters
         c. Younger men as sons
         d. Younger women as daughters

   B. PAUL PROVIDES EXAMPLES...
      1. As a father to a son (Timothy) - 1Ti 1:2,18; 2Ti 1:2; 2:1; Ph
         2:19-22
      2. As one brother to another (Epaphroditus) - Php 2:25
      3. As a son to a mother (the mother of Rufus) - Ro 16:13
      4. In teaching on family duties - Ep 6:1-4
         a. Like obedient children, we should show honor to our older
            brethren
         b. Like loving fathers, tender treatment should be shown to
            younger brethren

   C. ESPECIALLY WHERE CORRECTION IS NEEDED...
      1. In our text, Paul instructs Timothy on how to exhort
         a. When instructive criticism was necessary
         b. When there is to be caution against "rebuke" (an otherwise
            natural inclination)
            1) Lit., to strike upon, beat upon - Thayer
            2) To chastise with words, to chide, upbraid, rebuke - ibid.
      2. This can make quite a difference in handling differences
         a. We would be gentle with one another - cf. Ga 6:1
         b. As David wanted for his son Absalom - cf. 2Sa 18:5

[Not only is being the family of God a blessing in the best of times, it
can also help when things are not going well; it can smooth the rough
times in our relationships!  Finally, a few thoughts on how...]

III. WE CAN DEVELOP A STRONG SENSE OF FAMILY

   A. LEARNING BY EXAMPLE...
      1. Children of loving families are more likely to produce loving
         families
      2. As children of God, we can learn "family values" from our
         Father and Elder Brother
         a. From God we learn what love is - 1Jn 4:9
         b. From Jesus we learn how to love one another - 1Jn 3:16; Jn 13:34
      3. Thus we are better prepared to love another
         a. When we meditate upon the love of God
         b. When we dwell in the love of the Father and the Son - Jn 14:21; 15:9-10

   B. THROUGH SHARED EXPERIENCES...
      1. For a relationship to exist requires shared experiences
      2. It was shared experiences that bonded Paul and his brethren at
         Philippi - Php 1:3-8
      3. Take advantage of opportunities to be with your brethren, and
         the sense of family will grow!

   C. THROUGH PURITY OF CONDUCT...
      1. Nothing destroys a sense of family like sin
         a. Impure conduct caused Amnon to hate his sister Tamar - cf.
            2Sa 13:15
         b. Impure conduct caused Absalom to hate his brother Amnon
            - cf. 2Sa 13:22
      2. In our text, Paul cautioned Timothy about his conduct toward
         younger sisters
         a. "younger as sisters, with all purity" - 1Ti 5:2
         b. He "was to indulge in no word, or look, or action, which
            could by any possibility be construed as manifesting an
            improper state of feeling." - Barnes
      3. Improper conduct between brothers and sisters in Christ:
         a. Has devastated many congregations
         b. Destroys any sense of family
      4. Thus all would do well to heed a later admonition by Paul - cf.
         2Ti 2:22
         a. "Flee also youthful lusts"
         b. "Pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who
            call on the Lord out of a pure heart"

CONCLUSION

1. One of the greatest blessings of being a Christian is being in the
   family of God...
   a. To have God as your Father, Jesus as your Elder Brother
   b. To have an unlimited supply of mothers, fathers, brothers and
      sisters

2. But to fully experience this blessing, we must treat one another like
   family...
   a. In our love for one another
   b. In our correction of one another

May we reap the fullest benefit of membership in the family of God, by
heeding Paul's admonition to Timothy...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 10


Bible Reading  

January 10

The World English Bible



Jan. 10
Genesis 10

Gen 10:1 Now this is the history of the generations of the sons of Noah and of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.
Gen 10:2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
Gen 10:3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
Gen 10:4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
Gen 10:5 Of these were the islands of the nations divided in their lands, everyone after his language, after their families, in their nations.
Gen 10:6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.
Gen 10:7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
Gen 10:8 Cush became the father of Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth.
Gen 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before Yahweh. Therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before Yahweh."
Gen 10:10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Gen 10:11 Out of that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah,
Gen 10:12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city).
Gen 10:13 Mizraim became the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim,
Gen 10:14 Pathrusim, Casluhim (which the Philistines descended from), and Caphtorim.
Gen 10:15 Canaan became the father of Sidon (his firstborn), Heth,
Gen 10:16 the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Girgashite,
Gen 10:17 the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite,
Gen 10:18 the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite. Afterward the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad.
Gen 10:19 The border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you go toward Gerar, to Gaza; as you go toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, to Lasha.
Gen 10:20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, in their nations.
Gen 10:21 To Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, to him also were children born.
Gen 10:22 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.
Gen 10:23 The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
Gen 10:24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah. Shelah became the father of Eber.
Gen 10:25 To Eber were born two sons. The name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided. His brother's name was Joktan.
Gen 10:26 Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
Gen 10:27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,
Gen 10:28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba,
Gen 10:29 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were the sons of Joktan.
Gen 10:30 Their dwelling was from Mesha, as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east.
Gen 10:31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, after their nations.
Gen 10:32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations. Of these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.



From Gary... Alike all over...



No, these are not my dogs.  My white dog, Buddy, is much smaller than my red one, Pal.  But, they do have something in common- they are nosey.  After-all, a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do.  And as I look at these fine looking Poodles, I am reminded that people are all alike to.  Generically, we all do the same types of things.  Like eating, sleeping, working, thinking and doing things we want to do.  However, there are differences, but first the similarities...

Acts, Chapter 10
  34  Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism;  35 but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.  36 The word which he sent to the children of Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all— 37 you yourselves know what happened, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  39 We are witnesses of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree.  40 God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed,  41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead.  43 All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.” 

  44  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. 45 They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles.  46 For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. 

Then Peter answered,  47 “Can anyone forbid these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just like us.”  48 He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay some days.

God doesn't show favoritism because people are all alike.  Everyone who "works righteousness" is acceptable to HIM.  This can be anyone who fears God and does what God wants (righteousness).  The almighty proved this point by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit falling on non-Jews.  Since this showed approval of them, who could forbid them from being baptized and becoming disciples.  Yes, people have a lot in common, but the sad fact is that not everyone will do what God wants.  Some will go their own way, do their own thing.  Personally, I prefer to dwell on the positive and try to be thankful for those who will listen- and obey!!!  If you haven't, why wait???