"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" The Christian & Temptations (1:12-18)


The Christian & Temptations (1:12-18)

1. One of the greatest challenges of living the Christian life is dealing
   with "temptations"

2. This is especially true for new Christians:
   a. For it can be frustrating to know that your sins have been 
   b. ...only to immediately find yourself bombarded by temptations to
      continue in your sins

3. In Jm 1:12-18, we find helpful words for the Christian in the form
   a. A PROMISE to those who endure temptations
   b. A CAUTION not to wrongfully impugn the source of those temptations
   c. AN UNDERSTANDING of how sin develops

[As we begin with verse 12, we notice...]


      1. The Greek word for "blessed" is "makarios"
      2. Which means "happy, blessed"
      3. The nature of the happiness enjoyed is described as the verse

      1. The promise is that of "eternal life"
      2. The promise is given by Him Who cannot lie - cf. Tit 1:2
      3. The promise is given to those who "demonstrate" (prove) their
         love for God by their endurance of the temptations

[And so, to Christians facing temptations, first we have an ENCOURAGING 
word.  As we read on, though, we notice a word of CAUTION...]

II. THE CAUTION (13, 16-18)

      1. That is, to blame God for their temptations
      2. For God is so HOLY:
         a. He cannot be tempted by evil
         b. Nor does He tempt anyone to do evil

      1. God is the source of GOOD, not evil!
      2. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him!
      3. As an example, it was of His Own Will that He brought us forth
         a. Which He did by the "word of truth" (the gospel) - cf. 1 Pe 1:22-23
         b. So we might be a kind of "firstfruits" (the "cream of the
            crop") of His creatures

[This being true, certainly God would not tempt us with evil!  In fact, 
through the words of James God gives us insight into the development of 
sin which can help us to overcome sin...]


      1. The first stage is TEMPTATION (14)
         a. This stage involves two things:
            1) LUST (desires, NKJV) - a strong desire for something
            2) ENTICEMENT - an opportunity and encouragement to satisfy
               the desire
         b. Put into a mathematical formula:

                  Temptation = Desire + Opportunity

         c. E.g., a small boy is TEMPTED to steal some cookies when he
            WANTS them (desire) and has a good chance to get them and
            not be seen (opportunity)
         d. But remember, it is NOT a sin to be TEMPTED - cf. the example
            of Jesus, He 4:15
      2. The second stage in the development of sin is SIN ITSELF (15)
         a. Temptation leads to sin only when you yield and ACT upon it
         b. Sin therefore requires the added step of ACTION
         c. Putting it again in mathematical terms:

                  Sin = Desire + Opportunity + Action

      3. The final stage is the consequence of unforgiven sin: DEATH
         a. This refers to spiritual separation from God, which is the
            "wages of sin" - Ro 6:23
         b. Ultimately such "death" involves eternal punishment - Re 21:8
         c. Putting it once more in the form of an equation:

         Desire + Opportunity + Action + No Forgiveness = Punishment!

   [Sin and Satan will have overcome if we receive this final punishment.
   But with this understanding of how sin develops, we are in a better
   position to overcome sin...]


         a. Since this is where the process of sin begins, it is the best
            place for us to begin
         b. Bear in mind that it is a part of Christian growth to change
            our desires - Ro 12:1-2; Ga 5:24
         c. How do we change our desires?
            1) Notice that the WORD OF GOD has always been instrumental
               in helping people overcome sin - Ps 119:11; Mt 4:3-10
            2) To see how the Word of God can change our desires...
               a) As we read of God's love, longsuffering and mercy, we
                  desire to serve Him - Ps 116:12-14
               b) As we read of sin and its damnable consequences, we
                  come to hate it! - Ps 119:104
         d. So the more we study God's Word, the less likely we will have
            the DESIRE to sin, thereby beginning to overcome sin by
            "nipping it in the bud"!

      [But changing our desires takes time; while engaged in the process
      of changing our desires, what else can we do?]

         a. Remember, we are tempted only when there is BOTH desire and
         b. So while we work on changing our desires, we should limit the
            opportunities to fulfill wrongful desires
         c. This can be done by ASKING FOR GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL HELP, as
            Jesus taught - Mt 6:13; 26:41
         d. We can cooperate with God by:
            1) Purposely avoiding situations that might excite wrongful desires
               a) Following the example of David - Ps 101:3-4
               b) And the example of Job - Job 31:1
            2) Avoiding those whose evil behavior encourages us to sin
               with them
               a) Again, David sets a good example - Ps 101:6-7
               b) Paul also adds his warning - 1Co 15:33

      [But we will unlikely remove EVERY desire and opportunity to sin in
      this life, what then?]

         a. Remember, it becomes sin when we yield to ACTION in
            fulfilling our sinful desires
         b. If we can control ourselves so as to not yield, then we can
            overcome sin!
         c. How does the Christian exercise self-control?
            1) Self-control is but one aspect of the "fruit of the
               Spirit" - Ga 5:22-23
            2) When we become Christians, we receive the gift of the Holy
               Spirit in our lives - Ac 2:38; 5:32
            3) The Spirit is God's instrumental agent by which He imparts
               strength to us - Ep 3:16
            4) Strengthened by the Spirit, we are able to "put to death
               the deeds of the body" - Ro 8:12-13
            5) As Paul said:  "I can do all things through Him who
               strengthens me." - Php 4:13
         d. It is through faith in God's Word that the Christian believes
            that he has this divine help - Ep 3:20
            1) It is certainly proper to pray for it, as Paul did in
               behalf of the Ephesians - Ep 3:16
            2) But equally important, to act upon it, trusting that you
               are not alone as you try to do God's will - Php 2:12-13
            3) As an exercise commercial once said:  JUST DO IT!
         e. The Christian, then, has no excuse for yielding to a
            temptation - 1Co 10:13

      [But there may be times when we don't take advantage of the
      strength God provides through His Spirit, and we sin; what then?]

         a. Remember that sin is victorious when it results in punishment
         b. But if we obtain forgiveness through the blood of Christ, we
            can avoid that punishment and thereby still overcome sin!
            - 1Jn 2:1-2
         c. Yes, Christ is truly the "propitiation" for our sins!
            1) By His blood, we were forgiven of past sins when united
               with Him in BAPTISM - Ac 2:38; 22:16; Re 1:5
            2) By His blood, we can be forgiven of present sins when we
               REPENT, PRAY, and CONFESS our sins to God - Ac 8:22;
               1Jn 1:9
         d. At any time the Christian can overcome sins that were
            committed, by repenting and confessing them to God!


1. Indeed, we can overcome sin by stopping its development at ANY one
   of the four stages leading to the final punishment!

2. If you noticed carefully, you should have seen that at each of the
   four points in the development of sin, God is able and willing to help
   us overcome sin!
   a. God helps us to "control our desires" by providing His WORD to
      renew our minds
   b. God helps us to "limit the opportunities" through His PROVIDENCE
      as we pray for such
   c. God helps us to "exercise self-control" over our actions through
      His SPIRIT strengthening the inner man
   d. God helps us to "obtain forgiveness" through THE BLOOD OF HIS SON
      as we repent and pray

3. So how could anyone say that God would tempt us to sin?
   a. Certainly He is the giver of every good and perfect gift! - Jm 1:17
   b. Even as Paul wrote, in 2Th 3:3; 1Co 10:13

4. Have you taken advantage of God's way of escape for the sins you have

If not, why not do so by obeying the gospel, the Word of Truth, and
become one of the "firstfruits of His creatures"?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Faith: Believing the Truth Substantiated by Evidence by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Faith: Believing the Truth Substantiated by Evidence

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Apologetics Press Scientists Seminar in Jacksonville, AL with three other scientists (Drs. Branyon May, Mike Houts, and Joe Deweese) and a Hebrew scholar (Dr. Justin Rogers). During the seminar, we had a live Q&A period where all of the speakers lined up on the stage to field questions from the audience. Several atheists from the local university were present, many of whom stayed after the sessions to ask questions.
During the Q&A period, one of the atheists asked a question that I have often received when discussing science with naturalists: “How can faith (belief without evidence) be used to arrive at truth?” These atheists had been told by other theists that belief in God is not about evidence. It is a blind trust, regardless of the evidence—“fideism.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “fideism” as “reliance on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth.”1 By faith, they mean a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”2 To many in Christendom, biblical faith is such an idea.
Imagine an empty container representing the truth on a subject. A person “pours” evidence into the container, trying to fill it to the brim and arrive at the complete truth on a matter. When it comes to religious faith, however, according to many in Christendom, the container cannot be completely filled. The space that is left at the top of the container, between the evidence and the brim, must be filled in with blind “faith.” So, according to them, belief in God, for instance, rests ultimately, not on the evidence, but irrational faith.
In truth, the Bible does not so define faith. The Greek word for faith used in the New Testament (pistis) is not a mystical word only applicable when discussing religious faith. It is the Grecian word equivalent to the English words “belief” or “trust.”3 When we “believe,” “trust,” or “have faith in” someone, that faith is based on evidence. If a parent, for example, has proven himself to be trustworthy, we believe him. If we do not know a person and have no evidence to substantiate his integrity, to believe in him would be a blind (evidence-less) faith, which would be irrational and unwise. Scripture incessantly makes the point that we should come to a knowledge of the truth based on the evidence that has been provided to us. According to Romans 1:20, so much evidence has been provided to come to the truth of God, that not to come to the right conclusion is “without excuse.” We can know the truth—not merely accept it “on faith”—and it will set us free (John 8:32). We should test or “prove all things” before believing them, only holding to that which is good or right (1 Thessalonians 5:21). As did the “fair-minded” Bereans of Acts 17, God wants us to search for evidence that substantiates a claim before blindly believing it (verse 11). Since many false teachers are in the world, He tells us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits” before believing them (1 John 4:1). Unlike blind faith (i.e., fideism)—which pits itself against reason4—Paul believed in establishing truth using reason (Acts 26:25). In fact, Jesus told His audience to not believe Him if He did not substantiate His claims with evidence (John 10:37).
The blind “faith” idea is unbiblical. The biblical portrait of faith would be more like evidence being “poured” into our truth container. The “evidence” rises to the top of the container and begins pouring over the top. Where “faith” comes in is when we look at the truth, verified by evidence, and choosewhether or not to believe it. Most do not and will not (Matthew 7:13-14). It is their own choice, but it is not because God has not provided enough evidence to come to the truth. Rather, they have rejected the evidence which is readily available, due to their own personal motives.
As is always the case when I receive the question that the young men asked at the seminar, they are shocked when I respond that I do not agree that faith is “belief without evidence”—that our faith is in fact demanded by the evidence. On this occasion the atheists were shocked five times over, since all of the speakers on the panel nodded in agreement with those words.


1 “Fideism” (2015), Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionaryhttp://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fideism, emp. added.
2 “Faith” (2017), Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionaryhttp://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith.
3 William Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised, pp. 662-664.
4 “Fideism.”

Eyeballing Design in the Vampire Squid by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Eyeballing Design in the Vampire Squid

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In January 2007, Science magazine posted an article titled, “Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid with Excellent Eyesight,” by Elizabeth Pennisi. The article comments on the work done by graduate student Alison Sweeny who “wanted to learn about eye evolution” (Pennisi, 2007, 315[5811]:456). In order to do that, Sweeny dissected the eyeballs of a deep-water squid known as the Vampire squid.
To see underwater, an animal needs a special lens system. Pennisi wrote: “Seeing clearly underwater requires a special spherical lens with a high refractive index in the center but a lower index toward the edge” (315[5811]:456). The intricate lens structures in the eye of the Vampire squid were discovered to be extremely efficient for seeing clearly underwater. In fact, the caption to a picture in the article states: “Near-perfect eyes. Vampire squid lenses are designed for seeing details, even in virtual darkness” (315[5811]:456, emp. added). Jonathan Henry, biologist at the University of Illinois, stated: “It’s amazing how finely tuned the squid’s lens is to do its job” (315[5811]:456). In the concluding remarks of the article, Pennisi quoted Sweeney as saying that the lens of the Vampire squid “has a visual acuity better than in a state-of-the-art Zeiss dissecting microscope” (315[5811]:456).
Interesting, is it not, that Sweeney and the other researchers were attempting to learn more about “eye evolution”? Yet, they discovered exactly the opposite. They found a lens that is designed, finely tuned, and works better than a state-of-the-art microscope. Unfortunately, they missed the obvious implication that such statements demand: evolution cannot account for design or fine tuning. And how is it that all recognize that a Zeiss dissecting microscope has intelligent designers, but many miss the fact that the superior squid lens also has a designer? The biblical writer summarized this situation perfectly when he wrote:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22, emp. added).


Elizabeth Pennisi (2007), “News Focus Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting: Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid With Excellent Eyesight,” Science, 315[5811]:456, January 26, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/315/5811/456a.

Expelled--Again by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.



by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Two years after Ben Stein and Kevin Miller released the controversial movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Stein and Miller, 2008), which grossed nearly $7,700,000, the heated debate over discrimination towards those holding creationist beliefs continues. The Washington Post described astrophysicist Dr. Martin Gaskell as “uniquely qualified” for the position as director of the new, prestigious MacAdam Student Observatory at the University of Kentucky (UK). “He oversaw the design and construction of an observatory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also advised UK during the building of the MacAdam facility” (Lovan, 2010). However, although his credentials placed him “breathtakingly above the other applicants,” it seems that his Christian faith caused him to be rejected for the position. He, therefore, sued the university, “claiming lost income and emotional distress.” U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester, who rejected a motion from the university concerning going to trial, said, “There is no dispute that based on his application, Gaskell was a leading candidate for the position” (Lovan).
Ironically, Gaskell does not even consider himself a creationist and does not believe the Earth to be “a few thousand years old.” However, apparently threatened by a lecture he gave in 1997 in which he stated that evolution has “significant scientific problems” and contains “unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations,” science professors believed “his Christian faith could conflict with his duties as a scientist” (Lovan). How unfortunate that many scientists are so quick to jump to conclusions about others before gathering all of the evidence. It is hardly unexpected, considering that they have done the same thing by jumping to wild, outlandish, unscientific conclusions in holding to evolutionary theory despite all scientific evidence that stands against it. The evolutionists are so stressed about the creationists’ arguments that they are now expelling people who even appear to be creationists. Contrary to open-minded, academically free expression of scientific thought, this sort of censorship provides a real barrier to scientific progress. Creationists must be making an impact with many in the debate if the evolutionary community is becoming so hyperactive in its decisions.


Lovan, Dylan (2010), “Scientist Alleges Religious Discrimination in KY,” The Washington Post, December 10, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/17/AR2010121701178.html.
Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).

Exceptional Spider Silk by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Exceptional Spider Silk

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

To the average person, a spider’s web looks rather weak and flimsy. With the greatest of ease, a person can destroy a web. In only a second, the spider’s house is razed with the wave of a hand. Even Job’s uninspired friend, Bildad, testified of the fragileness of webs when he likened the unrighteous to those “whose trust is a spider’s web” (Job 8:14), who are leaning upon a house that easily perishes. So why are scientists increasingly mesmerized by the spider’s silk webbing?
Scientists are so enamored with spider silk because it has an “exceptional capacity to absorb kinetic energy” (Cunningham, 2007). Although it may not seem strong and tough from the vantage point of a human who easily can tear down a spider’s web, pound-for-pound, the silk from certain kinds of spiders is five times stronger than steel. What’s more, it can stretch 30 percent farther than the stretchiest known nylon, and is twice as flexible. Scientists have discovered that spider silk can even stretch 40 percent beyond its original length without breaking. In fact, due to its amazing strength and flexibility, it has been said that you could stop a jumbo jet in mid-flight with a spider web made of silk only one centimeter thick.
Since harvesting silk from spiders is impractical, scientists are attempting to make synthetic “spider silk” that could be used for countless things, including bulletproof vests, bridge suspension cables, and artificial tendons. Scientists especially covet the silk’s “exceptional capacity to absorb kinetic energy” and are hoping to copy what they call its “winning formula.” How have scientists fared thus far? In truth, even “[t]he best industrial fibers don’t absorb as much kinetic energy as spider silk does.... Despite years of research, scientists still can’t make a material as tough as the silk found within a spider web” (Cunningham, emp. added). Zoologist Chris Holland admitted that synthetic fibers “can’t even come close to” equaling the amazing qualities of spider-produced silk (as quoted in Cunningham).
What explanation do scientists give for the origin of spiders and their exceptional silk? To what do we owe this “winning formula” that intelligent scientists have been attempting to copy for years? According to Holland, “[s]piders...evolved the capacity to spin silk” (as quoted in Cunningham, emp. added). The mastermind behind the unequalled, “energy-efficient, high-performance” fibers in spider silk is, allegedly, mindless evolution. Truly, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).


Cunningham, Aimee (2007), “Taken for a Spin,” Science News, April 14, [On-line], URL:http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070414/bob8.asp.

How To Become A Happier Christian by Ben Fronczek


How To Become A Happier Christian

I know that this has been a hard year for many of us. Often when we hit a lot of bumps in the road of life it’s not hard to get down in a frump and loose our joy. I definitely am not immune to this, so I thought it would be good to remind you of some things we can do to increase our level of happiness as we live the life of a Christian. Now, you may have heard many of these things before, maybe even more than once, but as I said, I think we need to be reminded over and over because for some reason these things seem to slip our mind far too often. So let’s talk about how to be a happier Christian.
1st. First of all I believe we need to do our best to avoid the pitfalls and traps. 1 Peter 5:8 says, to be alert and of a sober mind, because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Colossians 2:8 also warns us not to let anyone take you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies.”   There are all kind of traps out there that we can fall into that will rob our joy or even hurt us.
We also have to be aware of other pitfalls like doing things that can make us miserable, and stressed out like: doing or saying things that will make us feel guilty, arguing all the time about every little thing, being knit picky and unforgiving about everything, starting fights, or purposely hurting others, or gossiping, and tearing others down. Even doing things like stealing or lying will in turn rob us. The guilt from such actions can be like cancer to your soul and will rob you of any happiness that you may have otherwise.
And #2, if you hope to be happy, you may need to change some attitudes you’ve been clinging on to, like:                                                                                                            
– Always feeling sorry for yourself, like no one has it as bad as you,
– Or feeling like nobody cares what you are going thru.
– Or maybe you cling to a negative attitude and always looking at the cup half empty or in a negative light, always being pessimistic and suspicious about everything. Such attitudes can short circuits feeling happy.
– You simply may need to nip a selfish attitudes in the bud because that can also lead to all kinds of ill feelings, hurt and even other sin.
Now that we’ve talked about the need to avoid certain pitfalls I would now like to suggest a few positive things that we can do to help us be a happy Christian.
#1. Start finding ways to show love and serve others. One of greatest object lesson Jesus taught His disciples actually took place after the evening meal before He was arrested and went to the cross. He took up a basin of water and a towel in hand and began to wash the disciples dirty smelly feet. Let me read what Jesus tells them from the Common English Bible; “ After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. 16 I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. 17 Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.”
I believe that we fulfill God’s purpose for our life when we love, serve, and give to others like He Himself gives to us. Remember, we are told that we have been created in His own image and likeness, so if we live a selfish, stingy life where we don’t help or care about anyone but our self, we are not going to feel right because we are doing something contrary to what our true nature is meant to be doing.
But when you find a way to help someone else, when you lovingly seek another’s best or highest good, when you are generous and help another… what happens?? It makes you feel good… even if you didn’t feel like doing it in the first place, it usually make you feel better that you did.
Proverbs 14:21 says Those who despise their neighbors are sinners, but happy are those who are kind to the needy.”
Proverbs 22:9 says Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor.”
Over and over I heard and read that if you feel sad, or down, if you are feeling depressed, lonely, miserable, or unloved, the best medicine to get happy is to get out there and find someone to help, to serve to lend a helping hand to, or visit. And that will change attitude in a positive way. And it just may even change your life in a good way as well.
Do you want to be happier, or stay miserable? Silly question! But the choice is ours by choosing what we do with our time.
#2. Another thing that will help a Christian become happier is by worshipping and thanking God more. And you may be thinking, ‘Well Ben I’m here almost every Sunday.’
Well, let me tell you this, ‘Sunday is not enough!’ As a matter of fact, Sunday mornings, as we collectively worship together as a church can sometimes actually be a bit distracting for some. You may not even feel a deep sense of heartfelt worship. People come in late, cough, or whisper, or get up, kids play, babies cry and our attention is disrupted. It happens to the best of us.
Mind you, our times together on Sundays and even midweek is important as we gather together. But I personally believe that God wants us to gather together as a group so that we can mutually encourage one another as we do our best to worship Him, and sing, and pray, and fellowship with one another.
I am also convinced that we as Christians feel better if we learn to enjoy, and worship, and thank God everyday! Like when we sing songs of praise to Him throughout the day, or listening to edifying songs of praise that honors God and maybe humming or singing along. This can lift your spirit heavenward and make you feel good.
Or how about when you make time honor Him, by reading His word, or by talking to Him throughout the day. We can worship God throughout the day whether we are in the shower, or in our car on the way to or from work, when we go for a walk, or even while we lie in bed awake at night.  Worshiping God isn’t limited to our public worship on Sunday mornings.
Romans 12 :1 tells us to offer our whole self, that is all our entire self with all our faculties to the Lord in holiness, and by doing so it is considered reasonable service and worship to God.
I believe that’s what gave David strength and joy. In Psalm 28 7 he wrote, My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
Like the angels in heaven, I believe we are made to praise and worship our wonderful God, and feel happy when we do so.
But when we don’t, when we are so caught up with our self and our problems joy and happiness evades us.
#3. Fix your eyes on our future Glory. In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul wrote, “one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Maybe more of us need to forget some things in our past and start looking to the future if we hope to be happy. The past is past, but the future hold our greatest adventure of all.
Paul wrote those words from prison having been arrested for doing good, for teaching salvation thru Jesus. He wasn’t about to let life’s unfair circumstances get him down. He knew for sure that there is a great day coming when Christians will receive the prize of a lifetime; and that made him happy, and in verse 15 he goes on to say that should all have this same attitude.
#4. Something else that can lead to becoming happy is fellowshipping with our brethren. Having fun with our brothers and sisters in Christ can be a really pick us up. (Barry Erskin recently lost his wife Linda. Right away he decided to start hosting a game night on Friday evenings at his home. Why? Because I believe he knows the value of Christians fellowship)
I’ve heard it said, to be successful in the Christian life you must hang out with the right people! You must cultivate Godly friendships.” A study recently showed that Americans have 1/3 fewer close friends than they did 20 years ago. A key factor in this is TV, I-pods, and the internet. It is sad we are becoming more and more detached from one another.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Don’t give up meeting together with God’s people. Invite them to your home. Invite them to go out together for a meal or some other kind of outing. Learn to have fun with your Christian brothers and sisters and it will make you happier.
#5. Lighten up, don’t take everything so serious. Learn to laugh at yourself and life with becomes so much less of a burden. The other day my 4 year old grand daughter took a look at my belly and then looked up at me and asked in a serious tone, “grandpa are you having a baby.” I could have been offended, but I have learned to laugh at things like this now. And because of that I feel like I’ve been set free to enjoy more of life’s silly mistakes. My Dad loved to laugh. I think we need to find things that we can laugh at. Why? It makes us happier.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Here I raise my Ebenezer Autobiography by Roy Allen Davison


Here I raise my Ebenezer
Autobiography by Roy Allen Davison
An “Ebenezer” is a monument to commemorate help received from God. After Israel had defeated enemies, Samuel set up a stone of commemoration that he called, “Ebenezer,” saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). “Ebenezer” means “stone of help” in Hebrew.
The second verse of the song, “O, Thou fount of every blessing,” written by Robert Robinson in 1758, which he published in 1759 as A Collection of Hymns Used by the Church of Christ in Angel Alley, Bishopgate begins:
“Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”
When I was 73 a friend asked me to recount significant spiritual influences and formative experiences in my life.

Spiritual Heritage and Early Years
Charles J. and Pearl M. Kincaid (Collins) were dedicated Christians. After my mother passed away, my brother, Dale, sent me a tract written by my grandfather that was among her things: “Why should I be a Baptist?” Most of his extended family were Baptists and I presume he was raised as a Baptist, but at some point he came in contact with people who were striving to restore the ancient order. His formal education was limited to grade school, but mother said he had educated himself with a Bible and a dictionary. He was a laborer to support his family of five children, the youngest of whom died when he was nine from what would be a minor foot infection now. There were no antibiotics then.
Granddad preached on occasion. When I visited the Central Church of Christ as a young man, when passing through Saint Louis, I met a man who remembered by grandparents. He said Charles and Pearl had beautiful voices and sang duets at area singings. I do not remember my grandfather at all because he passed away when I was three, yet via my mother, he and my grandmother had a significant influence on my life. I cherish some letters they wrote my parents during the Second World War.
My parents, Charles Henry Davison and Bessie Inez Kincaid, were married at Saint Louis, Missouri on January 14, 1939. Mother was eighteen and dad was twenty-four. I was born at Saint Louis on September 15, 1940. After dad joined the navy in 1941, he was stationed first at San Francisco and then in Florida. Dad was an electronics technician and during the war was on the research team that developed sonar. My brother, Dale, was born on Key West, Florida on November 22, 1943.
The folks did not attend church during the war.
Dad's dream was to live on a small farm which he thought would be a good environment for raising children.
Thus, after the war we moved to a 15 acre farm in Lutesville, Missouri dad had bought and paid for during the war. His research colleagues in the navy accepted employment as civilians with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. and encouraged dad to do the same, but he chose the farm instead, where he also had a radio repair shop.
I went to the first grade in Lutesville and the farm was indeed a great place for a six and three year old boy, but things did not work out well financially, so after a year dad gave in to the continuing encouragement of his former colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory and we moved to Clinton, Maryland near the District of Columbia where I attended the second and half of the third grade.

"Which church should we attend?"
In 1948, when I was seven and my brother, Dale, was four, my parents decided to start going to church. Sunday school would be good for their children.
But which church should they attend?
My father had attended the Methodist church as a boy, but felt no particular loyalty to that denomination.
My mother had attended the Christian Church, and had been baptized into Christ when she was twelve. After she left home, however, her parents left the Christian Church and became members of the Central Church of Christ in Saint Louis, Missouri.
After some discussion, my parents decided to visit the Christian Church and the Church of Christ. I remember those visits well!
We first visited the National City Christian Church at 5 Thomas Circle in Washington, DC. It was a congregation of almost 2000 members. I remember the impressive building with its large columns like a Greek temple. But most of all, I remember the steps! There are 31 stone steps from the street up to the door. There was no handrail. It was scary! I would need to be very careful on those steps! If I fell, I might tumble all the way down to the bottom and really hurt myself!
The Sunday school classes were putting on a big pageant for the parents that day. So my brother and I were put on two chairs in the corner of the classroom while the other children put on their costumes. One boy was dressed like a Roman soldier and had a wooden sword. The whole class then filed out into the auditorium and took seats at the front. The teacher told us that when the other children got up to go on stage, we should just stay in our seats, since we would not know what to do. I remember feeling very lonely and conspicuous after the others got up. Dale and I sat alone in the midst of all those empty seats. During the worship service, I noticed that the preacher wore special clothes. It looked like he had his collar on backwards.

The next Sunday we visited the Anacostia Church of Christ (in 1952 the name was changed to the Southeast Church of Christ when they built their own building). It had less than a hundred members and met in a rented lodge hall. The building was used for dancing on Saturday nights, so someone had to come early on Sunday morning to sweep up the broken beer bottles and open the windows to air the place out.
My brother and I had an interesting Bible class, and I remember how nice the singing sounded. The people were friendly and made us feel like long-lost friends.
Can you guess which congregation my parents decided to attend? They were zealous and attended all the services and Bible studies. Although my father came from a denominational background, he thought he was a Christian. He had been immersed when he was a teenager, so he thought his baptism was valid.
A gospel meeting was held with Bond Stocks doing the preaching shortly thereafter and my father went up and down our street inviting people to attend. During that meeting, in October of 1948, he was baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38). The clear preaching of the gospel caused him to realize that his previous immersion was not valid, and that he actually was not yet a Christian.
When he was a teenager, his mother had told him he was old enough to join the church. He asked how he was supposed to do that, and she told him to talk to the preacher. When my father heard the true gospel preached during that meeting, he realized that his previous immersion was just to please his mother and to join the Methodist Church, not to put on Christ (Galatians 3:26).
We drove 45 minutes to services in D.C. I remember one Sunday evening when I rode with dad alone to services because mother was ill. We passed several church buildings on the way. (One was a Catholic building with a big sign in the yard, “BINGO EVERY THURSDAY EVENING!”) I asked dad where all the different churches came from. During the 45-minute drive home he reviewed church history telling about the Apostasy resulting in the Catholic Church, the Reformation resulting in various Protestant churches, and the restoration movement to form churches of Christ.
Dad had been attending night classes to earn credits toward a BS degree in physics. After he became a Christian he decided to further his education at a Christian school so he could learn to preach. He had always tried to do what was right, but simply did not know what was right. He thought there were probably others like that too, and he wanted to be able to help them.
So I attended the second half of grade 3 and the first half of grade 4 at Finger, Tennessee near Henderson. Dad went to Freed-Hardeman College on the GI Bill that financed education for veterans after the war. We lived in a motel that had been converted to student housing across the highway from Logan's Lake.
That year my cousin, Sandy, became my sister through adoption. It was great to have a two-year-old sister!
When we were learning to use a dictionary in the fourth grade I discovered that in my school changes I had missed learning the alphabet! I remember going over my ABC's to learn the alphabet on the bus on the way to school one morning. At that school I was cast as the preacher in “Tom Thumb's Wedding.” Mother made me a tuxedo with tails from cheap black cloth and I “performed” my first wedding when I was nine! I still remember my lines consisting of 29 words!
At the time, Freed-Hardeman was only a junior college, so from there we moved to Portales, New Mexico where dad studied at the Bible Chair and earned a BS degree in Physics and Bible from Eastern New Mexico University. I attended the second half of the fourth grade and the first half of the fifth grade at Portales.
I walked for half an hour home from school. A boy (who was much taller than I) at a house I passed would regularly ask me if I wanted to have a fight with him. (He had six fingers on each hand.) I got tired of it, so agreed one day to fight him at the neighborhood playground at 10 a.m. the next Saturday. I had several friends along as moral support. He was alone. I told him, “I don't have any reason to fight with you. But you want to fight, so if you want to hit me or something, go ahead!” He did not want to just haul off and hit me, so he gave me a little push. Each time he gave me a push, I would back up a little. He pushed me all the way across the playground and then turned me around and started pushing me the other direction! His pushes were getting harder and I misjudged the force of one push and fell down. He then sat on top of me. That was not a problem except that in New Mexico, even the grass has stickers! So I started to cry because of the stickers! He then let me up and went home. The next time I passed his house he asked, “Do you want to have another fight?” I said, “Sure! Any time!” He said, “No. That won't be necessary.” After that he would greet me when I passed his house, and he never asked for a fight again.
From Portales we went back to the D.C. area and dad resumed his work with the Naval Research Laboratory and preached on occasion for small congregations. I was baptized into Christ on Sunday evening, March 4, 1951 at Alexandria, Virginia. I attended the second half of the fifth grade at Indian Head, Maryland.
Various men who worked at the Naval Research Laboratory were invited to work for a new guided missile division the Bureau of Standards was setting up in Southern California. (I have no idea why the Bureau of Standards had a guided missile division!) When a small congregation near the new division asked dad to help them as a self-supporting preacher, he accepted the job and we moved to the Riverside, California area in August of 1951. I attended the sixth grade and the first half of the seventh grade in Southern California.
Preaching for the small congregation did not work out. (The daughter of one of the elders was offended by something dad said.) So we started attending services at the Ninth & Lime congregation in Riverside, which was a great blessing! They had excellent Sunday school classes in which daily Bible reading was encouraged. When I was 12 I started reading five chapters from the Bible every night before I went to sleep and did not miss a day doing this for several years thereafter. By then I was planning to be a preacher.
As dad grew spiritually he began to question whether a Christian should be designing guidance systems for weapons of mass destruction! Especially Romans 1:30, “inventors of evil things,” caused him to give up his well-paying government job with a good pension plan. He worked for a TV repair company for a while until he learned that the boss was dishonest and wanted him to lie to customers. He started doing TV repair work on his own.
In the middle of my seventh grade we moved to Socorro, New Mexico where dad was hired to preach full time. That was the only one of our many moves that caused my grades to suffer significantly. But I learned a lot! My homeroom teacher was also the high school speech teacher. So I got to listen in on Mr. Miller's speech classes which I found extremely interesting! At Socorro I also learned the wonders of the local library and read biographies and science fiction books (when I should have been studying or sleeping).
Shortly after we moved to Socorro, two of the best givers in the congregation were unexpectedly transferred away, so the congregation could no longer support dad.

A wonderful summer!
Dad saw an ad in the Christian Chronicle in which Alvin Jennings, who was preaching at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada, was seeking someone to move to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to start a congregation there.
So at the end of the school year we packed our belongings into a trailer and went to Saskatoon, where we lived temporarily in the basement of the church building.
Dad could not find a job at Prince Albert, but got a job right away with the University of Saskatchewan as an electronics technician. There was a shortage of housing in Saskatoon, however, and we could not find an affordable house to rent.
But I had a wonderful summer! In Saskatchewan at the time various congregations had what they called summer Bible schools. They were something like “Bible Camps” except that instead of being mostly camp with a little Bible, Bible classes were taught from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there was preaching every night for two weeks. (There was plenty of time for recreation after four!) I attended the schools held at Perryville and at Estevan.
That summer I also learned about Radville Christian College, a small boarding secondary school in Saskatchewan, and decided that, Lord willing, I would attend high school there a year later.
We could not find a suitable house in Saskatoon. My sister, Sandy, who was six, was tired of living in the church basement and asked mother one day, “Mom, when are we going to start living again?” Mother probably felt the same way.
The folks learned from the real estate agency that was renting out our house in Southern California that the renters had moved out owing several months' rent. Since the rent money was used to pay the mortgage there was danger of losing the house.
So at the end of the summer the folks decided to go back to California to save the house.
Financially nothing worked out well that year, and dad concluded that he should have stayed in Saskatoon rather than try to save a house.

A great year in the eighth grade
But for me it was a great blessing because I had a tremendous homeroom and science teacher for the eighth grade! Walter Gardner was qualified to teach in university but preferred teaching the eighth grade. During successive periods of a few weeks we made an in-depth study of various branches of science: geology, meteorology, anatomy, etc. He challenged us in this way: “We have a 45 minute class. Actually, if we work hard we can learn what we need to learn in 30 minutes, and then have 15 minutes at the end of the period to have fun!” The “fun” was usually doing some kind of scientific experiment, but sometimes we could just visit. We usually got our work done in 30 minutes!
My best friend “Skipper” (Larry Snyder) and I won second place in the school science fair. (The girl who won first place had boiled all the meat off a chicken and had glued and wired all the bones together to make a chicken skeleton!) Skipper and I had a display of our rock collection we had assembled on our Saturday hikes into the hills. We also put an electric eye on the display so the light would come on when someone stood in front of the box.
That year in Physical Education classes we were given dancing lessons. I thought, “This is not something a Christian should be doing!” So I asked dad to write me a note asking that I be excused.
Two girls who sat near my desk in homeroom chided me, “What's wrong? Are you afraid of girls?” Actually, I was! But that was not the reason. I said, “It's against my religion.” I could see that the Japanese girl was favorably impressed.
For some reason my classmates that year affectionately called me, “The old man.” Fortunately, I have continually become younger since! When I did not join in on some of their escapades, they would roll their eyes and make the shape of a square with their fingers. It was a great year and a great class!
We also had a great exercise in democracy! There were several homerooms for each grade, and each eighth-grade homeroom nominated a classmate for student body president the next year.
We nominated a tall black boy: handsome, good student, sociable and a friend to everyone.
The school was completely integrated racially. Among 700 students there were about 10 blacks and about 50 Mexicans. The latter formed something of a clique, no doubt because of the language. But among the students I noticed no racial prejudice whatever.
When the candidates were announced, we were first shocked and then very angry, that our nominee had been left off the list! The nominee of each class was supposed to be on the list! No explanation was given. But we concluded that the school administration had rejected him because he was black.
So our class mounted a write-in campaign for our nominee, and he won the election!
Near the end of the school year a special assembly was held to give various awards. The auditorium was packed, with students standing in the aisles on each side because there were not enough seats. I was standing way at the back.
They were talking about some kind of a good citizenship award when suddenly my name was called out. I thought there must be some mistake, so I did not react at first. The principle said, “Is Roy Davison here?” I thought, “Well, there is no other Roy Davison in this school, so he must mean me.” In a daze I walked up to the front with students making way so I could get through. On stage I still thought, “This must be some kind of a mistake.” They gave me a medal with a red, white and blue ribbon. I turned it over and my name was engraved on the back. Then I thought, “Well, it really must be for me!”
On my way home, my bicycle was stopped by one of the school rowdies. He said, “Let me see your medal!” I took it out and gave it to him. He said, “What would you do if I kept it?” I said, “Well, I guess there wouldn't be much I could do.” He gave it back and said, “No. You deserve it,” and rode off on his bicycle.
He was the boy I had reported for having made a master key for the student lockers. Skipper and I had the job of going around after school and using a master key to lock any lockers that had been left unlocked. They boy who stopped me had bragged to me one day, “I have a key like that too!” And he showed me his key that he had filed off.
Although dad did not preach full time while we lived in Southern California, he baptized 30 people he taught in home Bible studies.
Since dad thought he should have stayed in Canada the year before, he contacted the University of Saskatchewan to see if he could get the same job back and they accepted him immediately.
Thus, during the summer we packed all of our belongings into two trailers and were all ready to move back to Saskatoon. The day before we were to leave, however, dad got a call from the university saying that they could not give him the job after all because some had complained that the work should be given to a Canadian (although they could not find anyone with qualifications as good as dad's). So what should we do?
Since the original intention had been to move north to establish a new congregation, dad decided we would head for Saskatoon as planned, and he would look for a job there or in Prince Albert. Along the way, however, he would also investigate other possibilities for establishing a new congregation in a needed area as a self-employed preacher.
The larger trailer was 8 by 8 by 16 feet. We had a Nash car and a very small van dad used in his TV repair business, a Thames English Ford. He intended to make two trips, first with the car pulling the large trailer and then with the van pulling the smaller trailer. But when he hitched the loaded large trailer to the car, the Nash springs were so soft that the back almost touched the ground. He tried hitching it to the van and its springs were stiff enough to bear the load. But when he tried to move, the small engine did not have enough power to move the trailer. He had the engine checked, and it had virtually no compression. Thus, he had an overnight valve job done, and the next day dad and I, and our dog Tippy, set out on the first trip. On the level, the maximum speed the rig would go was 30 mph. The van had two seats and the dog rode in a box behind my seat.
Things went ok until we hit a 20 mile grade in California where road construction was being done. The van had no water pump but convection cooling and was definitely not designed for what we were asking it to do. Fortunately, the construction company had placed laybys about every 200 yards with barrels of water for cars that overheated. We overheated every 200 yards and barely made it from one water barrel to the next before the engine began to vapor lock. We would cool down the engine (dad found that it stayed cooler if he left the radiator cap off and just let it boil) and then start out again. On the grade the engine barely had enough power to get us started in low, so I would push to help get us going and then jump in. It was a great adventure for a thirteen-year-old boy with his dad!
As we crossed the Mojave Desert on the way to Las Vegas, to say it was hot would be an extreme understatement. Tippy was so hot that he would lay his head on my shoulder and intersperse his pants with a moan now and then. At first we had two five gallon cans of radiator water along and one five gallon can of drain oil that dad got free at filling stations. But the toiling little engine, that had to run in low or second gear most of the time, was using so much oil that we decided we needed two cans of oil and one can of water.
When we saw a sign in the middle of the desert, “Watch out for cattle on the road!” dad quipped, “This must be where they raise that dried beef!”
A double mattress was loaded last on top of the trailer and made up as a bed. At night we would climb up on the trailer, prop up part of the canvas to make a little tent, and sleep on top of the trailer. There was no money for motels.
After we passed Vegas and headed for Salt Lake City we were thankful that the temperature dropped some. There were two short, steep hills on the trip that the van just was not powerful enough to climb. We had to wait for a pickup to come along with a friendly driver willing to tow us to the top of the hill! Downhill, dad always had to put the engine in low gear because the breaks were not strong enough to slow the rig downhill.
As we approached Salt Lake City several big trucks blew their horns as we met them. We thought there must be something wrong with the rig so we would pull off and check everything but could find nothing wrong. Then we noticed a distinctive truck and remembered that it had passed us some time before. Then we realized that the truckers had passed us on their way to Salt Lake City and were just saying hello when they saw us again on their way back to California! So after that, when they blasted their horns at us, we tooted back!
When we passed through West Yellowstone, Montana at 6667 feet altitude there was snow on the ground. We did not mind at all after the sweltering heat of the desert! The next morning there was snow on the canvas above our heads when we woke up.
When we visited a congregation in central Montana, dad asked if they knew of any cities that might be good places to establish a new congregation. It was mentioned that there was only one church of Christ in all of North Dakota, at Bismarck. A brother agreed that we could leave the trailer at his house while we scouted for a place to go. So, without the trailer, the little Thames took off like a jack rabbit as we headed for Bismarck, North Dakota to visit Gordon Pennock who was preaching there.
Brother Pennock suggested Fargo as a good place to establish a congregation. Dad went to Fargo and found a job as a TV repairman right away.
Gordon was going to Saskatoon to conduct a gospel meeting. Since I knew the brethren there from the summer before, it was arranged that I would go to Saskatoon with Gordon while dad went back to California to get my mother, brother and sister, and to drive the car and the other trailer to Fargo. Dad found a car to drive that a dealer wanted to move to the California market.
When I returned from Saskatoon to Fargo the folks were camping in an empty house they had rented for one month while they looked for something more suitable.

Radville Christian College

RCC campus 1957, from a painting by Fred Brehaut
In September of 1954, after being with the family for a week, a couple of weeks short of my 14th birthday, I went to Radville, Saskatchewan to attend secondary school at Radville Christian College. It was a small Christian boarding school serving churches of Christ.
Attending a boarding school with forty students is like being part of a large family. Close and valued friendships were formed with students and faculty, and I met the girl who fourteen years later would become my wife. Since the school was 500 miles from Fargo, I was able to go home only at Christmas, Easter and for two months in the summer. So much could be told about my three years at Radville, and one year at Weyburn after the school moved there, that it is difficult to know what to tell and what to leave out!
(To be continued, Lord willing.)
Roy Davison

Published in The Old Paths Archive