2/1/14

From Ben Fronczek... Fireproof Faith Daniel (part 3)


Fireproof Faith Daniel (part 3)    

by Ben Fronczek

One Sunday the minister of a particular congregation walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon he introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, he told the congregation that the minister, an old man now, was one of his dearest friends who he knew since he was a boy. He wanted the old preacher to take a few moments to greet the church and say a few words. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.

“A father, His son, and a the boy’s friend  were sailing off of the Pacific Coast,” He began, “When a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized. The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.
The aged minister continued with his story, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the lifeline. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. He had to make a decision. “As the father yelled out, ‘I love you son!’ He threw out the lifeline to his son’s friend.

By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of the night. His body was never recovered.” By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth. “The father,” he continued knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus but he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into eternity without Jesus.
 
Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save his son’s friend… With that the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. Their minister again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon…  I will finish the rest of this story at the end of my sermon.

This story, and the sermon today where we will see what Daniel’s friends did in Daniel 3, prompt me ask the question, ‘How much do I believe and trust in God? And how much do I believe in and trust in what the Bible says?’ Would I compromise my faith and what I believe about God, salvation and heaven in such a situation?

As Christians we are under constant pressure to compromise our beliefs in our culture. Often we are tempted to compromise our beliefs because of subtle pressures that come our way as we interact with others, or while watching TV or while in front of your computer. Or even when we are behind the steering wheel. How well do you stand up under pressure to do what everyone else is doing and ignore God’s will for us? It seems as though God’s people have always had this kind of pressure to compromise their faith. Today I would like to look at how Daniel’s Jewish companions in Babylon named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood their ground and trusted God no matter what the consequence were.

Read Daniel 3  (Click on verse and read)

In Exodus 20:4-5 God commanded,  

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

I think this story was more about how much Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed in God and His word than how they were saved. Here we see where their convictions lay; they would not bow down to that statue even if it meant death, because they believed it would displease our Lord God.

They probably recognized the fact that bowing down and worshipping idols was the very reason why God allowed the Jewish nation to fall to Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon in the first place.
I have been reading Jeremiah which was written when Nebuchadnezzar  was outside the gates of Jerusalem and about to destroy it. In desperation the Jewish people asked, ‘How come Lord?’ God answered them through the prophet Jeremiah. He told them it was because they turned away from Him the living God of Heaven. In Jer. 11 He says,  

11 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries. 12 Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes! 13 Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem.”

These three young men may have even heard Jeremiah preach these words and here they were with this king telling them to bow down before another graven image. They couldn’t do it. They would have rather died in obedience to God in that fire than do something that they knew would displease Him.

Later on Jesus would say,  

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mt. 10:28

What I see here is what I like to call ‘Fireproof faith’.  Fireproof faith is being completely submissive to God’s will no matter what the consequences.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith was not so much in their deliverance, but rather in their God. It was of the same kind as Job’s, who said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” They knew that if God deliver them, His name would be vindicated and honored. But they probably also believed that if they died, at least they did not compromise their faith.
Having faith like this involves trusting in God and His word, no matter what the situation and what the outcome.

Having Faith does not mean that we will know or understand what God is doing or the specific purpose of the trials we encounter. It involves being ready and willing to follow Him and His decrees, all the time, especially so when we don’t know why we are being tested.
In this miracle, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were delivered from the flames, or more accurately in the flames. They were set free in the flames.

 There is no suggestion here or anywhere else in Scripture that believers will not experience trouble and suffering. But the believer has an advantage; it is in times of suffering and trouble when the Lord is so much more present to help us or at least comfort us. So we just need to trust Him!

A fellow by the name of Rich Mullins wrote: “You meet the Lord in the furnace a long time before you’ll meet Him in the sky.”  Doesn’t it seem like we draw closer to God in times of trail more than any other time?

One of the early church fathers, John Chrysostom, lived in the late 4th and early 5th century. One day he was brought before the emperor and commanded to renounce Christ. The emperor threaten him saying if he would not renounce Christ he would be banished from the country forever—he would be separated from his father’s land for the rest of his life. John responded, “You cannot. The whole world is my Father’s land. You cannot banish me.”
The emperor then said, “Then I will take away all of your property and treasures.” John replied, “You cannot, for all my true treasures are in heaven.”
The emperor then said, “I will send you to a place of absolute solitude where there is not one friend for you to talk to.” John said, “You cannot, for I have a friend that is closer than a brother to me. He is my elder brother, Jesus Christ, who has promised to be with me always—to the very end of the age.”            
In anger the emperor then said, “I will then take your life.” John said, “You cannot. For my life is forever hidden in Christ with God.”
Chrysostom was of the same spirit as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

I am not sure if we will ever be called upon to die in a fiery furnace or if we’ll be martyred if we follow Christ. My guess would be, we will not. But we are called out to act and live like a Christian on all occasions no matter what the consequences. .

Otherwise we compromise our faith. Are there pressures and situations that make living life for Christ difficult and sometimes costly? Yes, but hopefully it is during those times that we are identified as disciples of Jesus.In times of testing, God’s people must fight fire with faith.

APPLICATION: How fireproof is your faith? Is your belief and faith in Christ strong enough to meet the challenge of a personal tragedy? Of unanswered prayer? Of criticism? Of personal threats? Of a loss of health? Of loss of possessions? Of persecution? Or loss of a family member? Let these three young men be an example an example for us and an encouragement to fight fire with faith.

NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY:
‘After the worship service was over and the preacher finished up his sermon the two teenagers went up and sat at the old man’s side. “That was a nice story,” the boys politely said., “But we don’t think it was realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”                 
“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied glancing down at the worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t realistic, is it? But I’m standing today to tell you that the story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His only son for me.  You see…    I was the father in my story and your Preacher here was my son’s friend.’

You see that old minister believed God and His word. He had no doubt that his son was in heaven He trusted God’s word. He had what all of us as Christians should have and that is an unshakeable faith.

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

From Jim McGuiggan... 1 Peter 3.19, spirits in prison

1 Peter 3.19, spirits in prison

Percy asked who the "spirits in prison" are that are mentioned in 1 Peter 3:19. Somewhere around 414 AD Augustine wrote his fellow-bishop Evodius about this section of scripture. Over and over again he confessed its difficulty and several times he urged his friend to ask other wise people to comment on it. I think Peter had his nerve when he said Paul wrote some things difficult to understand (2 Peter 3:16). In any case, Augustine thought that "the spirits in prison" were men who were in the bonds of moral darkness and ignorance.

I tend to the view that they are the spirits of those to whom Noah preached. They are spirits in prison while Peter writes but they were very much alive when Noah preached to them. In 4:6 Peter speaks of the gospel being preached "to them that are dead." I don’t think he meant that the gospel was preached to men who had already died. They were dead while Peter wrote but when the gospel was preached to them they were living.

In chapter 3 Peter returns to something he has already mentioned in 2:18-24. He insists there that if suffering is to come, the Christian servants should make sure it is suffering they didn’t earn. It is better to suffer for righteousness sake than to suffer (be punished) for evil-doing. In 3:13-22) he returns to that (especially verse 17).

There are three suffering situations in that section. There is the (possible) suffering of the Christians (3:14), the suffering of Christ (3:18) and the suffering of the antediluvian rebels (3:20).
The rebels in Noah’s day suffered at the hand of God for doing evil and the outcome was not blessing but imprisonment after this earthly phase of living. Jesus Christ suffered in this earthly phase of living but he did it for good because he did it for God and the result was resurrection and enthronement (3:21-22). The Christians are to take their choice. If they choose good they will (possibly) suffer (3:14) but the end result is salvation beyond death (proclaimed in their baptism) because they are raised with Christ (3:21). Their baptism is a commitment to obedience (3:21) and the antediluvian baptism is the outcome of a commitment to disobedience. The antediluvian baptism resulted in death and imprisonment and the Christian baptism results in life, renewed life to God through the resurrection and glorification of Christ.

If they should suffer even worse trials than they’re suffering up to now (1:7) and are martyred at least they won’t have died at the hand of God as Noah’s peers did. Nor will they die to God. Some saints who may already have been martyred (compare 4:6) suffered the fate of Jesus Christ who was put to death in the flesh (3:18, 4:1). But the gospel had been preached to them (compare 1:12,25) that though they would suffer as men in the flesh they would live unto God in spirit (4:6).

Yes, but if the spirits in prison are really the pre-flood peers of Noah how is it that Jesus preached to them (3:19)? I suppose he could have done it between his death and resurrection. What he would have preached, why to that specific group rather than everyone or some other group would remain a complete mystery. And the purpose for which he preached to them would be another mystery. To give them a "second chance"? Why them and not all? Why them when Genesis 6 describes them as so wicked that God "repented" of having made man?

Following many others my guess is that he preached through Noah who, Peter tells us, was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:6). We’re told that the Spirit of Christ spoke through the prophets (1 Peter 1:11) so his Holy Spirit surely spoke through Noah. So maybe we should capitalize "spirit" in 3:19 and make it the Holy Spirit, plain and simple.

But that’s probably too simple. The "flesh" very often in scripture (and especially in Paul) speaks from a moral perspective and suggests something sinister—the "flesh" is all that is opposed to God (Romans 8:5-8 is a single illustration). But it doesn’t always suggest that. It can suggest human vulnerability and weakness. Paul speaks of Christ being put to death in weakness and made alive in power (2 Corinthians 13:4) and Peter speaks of him being put to death in "flesh" (there’s no definite article) and made alive in "spirit". Flesh and spirit in Peter probably speak of two modes of existence. "In (the) flesh" was Christ in his vulnerability and in spirit is his existing in divine power, beyond vulnerability (that would be where 3:22 comes in). Perhaps Peter (who knows about Christ’s pre-existence, 1 Peter 1:20) is saying that by virtue of his divinity Christ was able and did indeed preach through Noah to those who now while Peter writes are spirits in prison.

©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, theabidingword.com.

From Mark Copeland... Perilous Times And Perilous Men ( 2 Timothy 3:1-13)






                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                Perilous Times And Perilous Men (3:1-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. Paul often warned his brethren of difficult days ahead...
   a. He foretold of a coming apostasy - Ac 20:29-30; 2Th 2:1-3
   b. Likewise he told Timothy of such things - 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:1

2. Paul's words to Timothy in 2Ti 3:1-13 are especially helpful...
   a. They describe the "perilous times" that are to come
   b. They warn of the "perilous men" that we are to avoid during such
      times

[Lest we think that Paul's words are only for those living just before
Christ returns, let's take a close look at what is revealed about
the...]

I. PERILOUS TIMES TO COME

   A. THE COMING OF PERILOUS TIMES...
      1. It will be "in the last days" - 2Ti 3:1
      2. This phrase often used to describe the gospel dispensation or
         Christian age
         a. Used by Joel, and applied by Peter - Ac 2:16-17; cf. 2 Pe 3:3
         b. Used by the writer to the Hebrews - He 1:1-2
      3. Similar phrases are also used to describe the times in which we
         live
         a. "the ends of the ages" - 1Co 10:11
         b. "the latter times" - 1Ti 4:1
         c. "the last hour" - 1Jn 2:18
      -- Since the cross of Christ we have been living "in the last
         days"; therefore we should therefore expect to experience the
         "perilous times" of which Paul wrote

   B. THE NATURE OF PERILOUS TIMES...
      1. As described in our text - 2Ti 3:2-5
         a. People will be lovers of themselves and money
         b. They will be boastful, proud, and blasphemers
         c. They will be disobedient to parents
         d. They will be unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving
         e. They will be slanderers, without self-control, brutal
         f. They will be despisers of good, traitors, headstrong and
            haughty
         g. They will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
         h. They will have a form of godliness, but denying its power
      2. Compare with those in Paul's day - Ro 1:28-32
         a. People were filled with all unrighteousness and sexual
            immorality
         b. They were filled with wickedness, covetousness and
            maliciousness
         c. They were full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and
            evil-mindedness
         d. They were whisperers, backbiters, haters of God and violent
         e. They were proud, boasters, inventors of evil things and
            disobedient to parents
         f. They were undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving
            and unmerciful
         g. They approved of those who practice things deserving of
            death
      -- What Paul said would occur "in the last days" already existed
         in his day!

[Note well:  It is the conduct of people that creates "perilous times",
and we are certainly living in such times today!  What then should be
our concern for living "in the last days"?  According to our text, there
are...]

II. PERILOUS MEN TO AVOID

   A. MEN LIKE JANNES AND JAMBRES...
      1. Who will lead gullible families and women astray - 2Ti 3:6-7
         a. Through trickery and deceit ("creeping into households")
         b. Through appealing to the lusts of their victims - cf. 2 Pe 2:3,18
         c. While their victims are ever learning, they never come to
            the knowledge of the truth - cf. 2Ti 4:3-4
      2. Who themselves resist the truth like Jannes and Jambres - 2 Ti 3:8-9
         a. Though not mentioned by name, it is thought these two men
            were among the magicians and sorcerers who resisted Moses
            and Aaron - cf. Exo 7:11,22; 8:7,18
         b. Those who resist the truth are of corrupt minds, rejected in
            regard to the faith - cf. 1Ti 1:19-20; 4:1-2
         c. Whose folly will eventually become evident to all, as
            happened to Egyptian magicians - cf. Exo 7:12; 8:18; 9:11
      3. Such men will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived - 2 Ti 3:13
         a. Their profane and idle babblings will lead to more
            ungodliness - cf. 2Ti 2:16
         b. Their messages will spread like cancer - cf. 2Ti 2:17
      -- This sounds like many TV evangelists, liberal theologians,
         college professors

   B. MEN UNLIKE THE APOSTLE PAUL...
      1. A man whose doctrine and manner of life is easily followed
         - 2Ti 3:10
         a. As the Corinthians were encouraged to do - 1Co 4:17; 11:1
         b. As the Philippians were encouraged to do - Php 3:17
      2. Whose purpose, faith, longsuffering, love and perseverance is
         well documented - 2Ti 3:10
         a. As he reminded the Philippians - Php 3:8-14
         b. As he reminded the Corinthians - 2Co 11:23-28
      3. Who endured persecution and affliction, as would others living
         godly lives in Christ Jesus - 2Ti 3:11-12
         a. Paul was awaiting his death by Nero in writing these words
            - cf. 2Ti 4:6
         b. Peter also knew that he would face an unnatural death for
            his faith - cf. 2Pe 1:14
      -- What a contrast between the apostles like Paul, and many false
         teachers today!

CONCLUSION

1. It is evident that we are living "in the last days"...
   a. Many people are certainly just like those described by Paul
   b. False teachers abound just as Jesus, Paul, and others warned
   -- We truly live in "perilous times", with an abundance of "perilous
      men"

2. How will we survive living "in the last days"...?
   a. By avoiding those who reject the truth and lead astray by
      appealing to our fleshly desires
   b. By carefully following the doctrine and manner of life of men like
      the apostle Paul
   -- It may mean persecution, but the Lord will deliver His faithful
      disciples!

What kind of "men" are we following in these "times" in which we
live...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading February 1

Bible Reading   

February 1

The World English Bible


Feb. 1
Genesis 32

Gen 32:1 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
Gen 32:2 When he saw them, Jacob said, "This is God's army." He called the name of that place Mahanaim.
Gen 32:3 Jacob sent messengers in front of him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
Gen 32:4 He commanded them, saying, "This is what you shall tell my lord, Esau: 'This is what your servant, Jacob, says. I have lived as a foreigner with Laban, and stayed until now.
Gen 32:5 I have cattle, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.' "
Gen 32:6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau. Not only that, but he comes to meet you, and four hundred men with him."
Gen 32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two companies;
Gen 32:8 and he said, "If Esau comes to the one company, and strikes it, then the company which is left will escape."
Gen 32:9 Jacob said, "God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Yahweh, who said to me, 'Return to your country, and to your relatives, and I will do you good,'
Gen 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the loving kindnesses, and of all the truth, which you have shown to your servant; for with just my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I have become two companies.
Gen 32:11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he come and strike me, and the mothers with the children.
Gen 32:12 You said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which can't be numbered because there are so many.' "
Gen 32:13 He lodged there that night, and took from that which he had with him, a present for Esau, his brother:
Gen 32:14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,
Gen 32:15 thirty milk camels and their colts, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals.
Gen 32:16 He delivered them into the hands of his servants, every herd by itself, and said to his servants, "Pass over before me, and put a space between herd and herd."
Gen 32:17 He commanded the foremost, saying, "When Esau, my brother, meets you, and asks you, saying, 'Whose are you? Where are you going? Whose are these before you?'
Gen 32:18 Then you shall say, 'They are your servant, Jacob's. It is a present sent to my lord, Esau. Behold, he also is behind us.' "
Gen 32:19 He commanded also the second, and the third, and all that followed the herds, saying, "This is how you shall speak to Esau, when you find him.
Gen 32:20 You shall say, 'Not only that, but behold, your servant, Jacob, is behind us.' " For, he said, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face. Perhaps he will accept me."
Gen 32:21 So the present passed over before him, and he himself lodged that night in the camp.
Gen 32:22 He rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok.
Gen 32:23 He took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.
Gen 32:24 Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a man there until the breaking of the day.
Gen 32:25 When he saw that he didn't prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled.
Gen 32:26 The man said, "Let me go, for the day breaks." Jacob said, "I won't let you go, unless you bless me."
Gen 32:27 He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob."
Gen 32:28 He said, "Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed."
Gen 32:29 Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." He said, "Why is it that you ask what my name is?" He blessed him there.
Gen 32:30 Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
Gen 32:31 The sun rose on him as he passed over Peniel, and he limped because of his thigh.
Gen 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel don't eat the sinew of the hip, which is on the hollow of the thigh, to this day, because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip.
  
Feb. 1, 2, 3
Matthew 17

Mat 17:1 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.
Mat 17:2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.
Mat 17:3 Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.
Mat 17:4 Peter answered, and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let's make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Mat 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
Mat 17:6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.
Mat 17:7 Jesus came and touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid."
Mat 17:8 Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.
Mat 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Don't tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."
Mat 17:10 His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
Mat 17:11 Jesus answered them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and will restore all things,
Mat 17:12 but I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they didn't recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. Even so the Son of Man will also suffer by them."
Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptizer.
Mat 17:14 When they came to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling down to him, saying,
Mat 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is epileptic, and suffers grievously; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.
Mat 17:16 So I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him."
Mat 17:17 Jesus answered, "Faithless and perverse generation! How long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring him here to me."
Mat 17:18 Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.
Mat 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, "Why weren't we able to cast it out?"
Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Mat 17:21 But this kind doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting."
Mat 17:22 While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men,
Mat 17:23 and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up." They were exceedingly sorry.
Mat 17:24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?"
Mat 17:25 He said, "Yes." When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"
Mat 17:26 Peter said to him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt.
Mat 17:27 But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."

From Gary... B1


Common sense is the stuff of brilliance.  The message of this little cartoon is simple- be what you are supposed to be. What are you supposed to be? One who follows Jesus of Nazareth, who is called the Christ.  So, then, it would be a good idea to listen to HIM!!!  The following is a brief passage from what is commonly called "The Sermon On The Mount"...

Matthew, Chapter 7
 7  “Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.   8  For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.   9  Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?   10  Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent?   11  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!  12  Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 

  13  “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.   14  How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it. 

  15  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.   16  By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?   17  Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.  18  A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.   19  Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.   20  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.   21  Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.   22  Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’   23  Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ 

  24  “Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock.   25  The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock.   26  Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.  27  The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

OK, this is just one portion of Jesus' teaching, so if you want the whole story, read chapters five and six as well.  But, lets just focus in on just verses 24f.. What Jesus says to do- DO!  Your life will be like someone's house founded on a firm foundation; A ROCK that can't be moved, no matter what comes your way.  Want to be a Christian? B1!!!