15 June 2017

GODLY FATHERS

One of life’s greatest blessings and challenges for a man is fatherhood. This relationship involves the greatest joys and demands the best one has to give and often will include many sorrows. A godly father loves his wife and is loyal to his marital vows (Ephesians 5:25). He desires the best for his children. A father is industrious. He labors to provide for his family and the needs of others who lack the material things of life (I Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 4:28). The greatest contribution a father can make to his family is leadership in spiritual matters. In every age, the head of the family has been required of God to provide the proper direction regarding religious training. Modern fathers are most likely to leave this responsibility to the wife and mother. However, Paul exhorted: “And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4). It is a tremendous requirement to make sure one’s children are taught of God but the rewards are everlasting. A Christian father may not be able to give very much materially to his children but the legacy of having a father who loved his family and the Lord, surpasses everything else. The greatest inheritance a Christian father can leave is one that is rich in faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. We should never underestimate the love that a father possesses in his heart for his children. His emotions may not be as noticeable as the mother; yet, the feelings are just as deep. Most fathers would give their lives on behalf of their families. Their hearts are filled with deep gratitude when they witness their children succeeding in life. The Christian father rejoices greatly when his children obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. My father will be remembered for being a fine Christian gentleman. Also, the legacy of having a good name has meant more to me than all the riches of this world. It was the wise man of old who wrote: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1); and, “A good name is better than precious ointment…” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Godly fathers are rare in this modern society. But, we should always be thankful for the ones who are. Truly, you are blessed indeed if you have/had a Christian father who placed Christ first in his life. His influence in your life and even in the lives of his grandchildren will be felt for many years to come. Say, have you hugged your father recently? DEAR OLD DAD “So often we praise our mothers here and merit all their ways. We so ignore the fact that Dad he, too, deserves some praise. Who strives to earn the daily bread? To keep all healthy—glad? Isn’t he that gets so little praise and that is dear old Dad. To praise our mothers, that is good (this they may deserve) Yet why so slack in praising Dad and keep in reserve? Let’s measure their equalities—give merits, praise, when due. Start pinning laurels on your Dad, He’s done a lot for you.” (Eva Gilbert Shaver) - Raymond Elliott

19 May 2017

SETTING OUR AFFECTIONS ON THINGS ABOVE

“If you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1, 2). Remember as Christians, we are “pilgrims” in this life (1 Peter 1:1), traveling on our way to heaven where God and His Son reside. Paul instructed Timothy not to be entangled “with affairs of this life” (2 Timothy 2:4). We are not to be isolationists, but to be the “salt of the earth” and the “life of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14). But we must “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). We are instructed to “pray for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 1:2). Let us not become so enthralled with the unrest in the political arena in our nation and in the world that we fail to trust in God who “rules in the kingdom of men”(Daniel 5:21); and, become complacent in the greatest work in this world, and that is to preach the “gospel to the every creature”, and, to “do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

16 March 2017

HOW LONG WILL I LIVE?

Recently I received a questionnaire from the investment company where I have my IRA. One section dealt with “Investment Time Horizon.” In other words, how many more years do I plan to live and invest in my IRA. The choices ranged from “0-2 years” to “more than 20 years.” First of all, I have not invested any monies in my IRA in several years. I have been doing the opposite. I have been receiving the much needed funds to supplement my Social Security income. Well, I am approaching my 82nd birthday, the Lord willing, in the month of May; so, how many years should I select, if I plan to do any investing in my IRA? By God’s grace, providence and “by reason of strength”, I have surpassed the “four score years” mentioned in Psalm 90:10. My cardiologist , at my last checkup, said, “I will see you next year.” But, he did not give me a guarantee when I asked him if he would. He then said, “Has God ever given you a guarantee?” When you consider the facts, as found in the Word of God, you know that death is no respecter of persons. “The living know that they shall die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5); “It is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27); that life “is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Furthermore, death is no respecter of age. During the month of February, 2017, two young men of my acquaintance died, unexpectedly. One friend was only forty-eight years old and a relative of mine died when he was fifty years old. Someone has said, ‘The old must die and the young do die’. Let it be understood, it is not the quantity of life that is important; rather, it is the quality of life that means so much because it affects our eternal destiny. A person who lives for Jesus Christ, will die in Christ and will be blessed eternally (Revelation 14:13). An individual who enjoys longevity of life but lives without God, will die without God in eternity. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (unprepared) (Hebrews 10:31). Are you interested in knowing what selection I chose relative to how long I might live should I decide to invest in my IRA? It is said that a positive attitude contributes to the longevity of one’s life, so, I selected the bracket, (6-10) years, but I did so, knowing that I have no assurance I will live another day. But I have this precious promise from the Lord Jesus Christ: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die, Do you believe this?” (John 11:25, 26). I do, because I trust in Him. If we know how to live (in Christ), we will know how to die. My heart’s desire is that every believer will “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” and the Lord will add you to His church of which He is the Savior (Acts 2:38, 47; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18).

10 March 2017

"CHOICES"

The late country singer, George Jones, recorded the song, “Choices”, which sounds like a confession regarding the bad ones he made in his life and that he was “living and dying” with those choices. The Lord God made man to be a free moral agent, that is, he possesses the ability to make choices in life, either good or bad. That has been true since the time Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden. Before his death, Moses, the great leader of the children of Israel, informed the people the following: “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal” (Deuteronomy 11:29). God did lead them to the mountains: Mount Gerizim was the mountain of ‘blessing’ and Mount Ebal was the mountain of ‘curse’. Moses commanded six leaders from six tribes to stand on Mount Gerizim to pronounce the ‘blessings’ that would come upon the people ‘if’ they obeyed the commandments of God. He also commanded six leaders from six tribes to stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce the ‘curses’ that would come upon the people if they disobeyed the commandments of God (Deuteronomy 27:11- chapter 28) In Deuteronomy 30:15, 19, Moses said, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants my live” (Emphasis, re). The Lord God allowed the Israelites to choose between “life” or “death”. Jesus Christ gave the people of His day a choice that is applicable for all of mankind as long as time shall stand, as recorded in Matthew 7:13, 14: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (ESV). How sad indeed it is, that “many” will choose the “easy” way “that leads to destruction”! And, only a “few” will choose the way that is “hard that leads to life.” On the judgment day when Jesus Christ will sit on the “throne of His glory”, your eternal choice will not be yours, it will be His! You will either hear, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”; or, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:34, 41). The decision you make presently will determine the direction you will follow in this life, and eventually, your eternal destiny. Please remember, you are “living and dying” with the choices you make in this life. Prayerfully, you will choose ‘life’ in Jesus Christ. If you do, you will “die in the Lord” and will be blessed in the eternal care of our Heavenly Father (Revelation 14:13).