29 May 2021

"LEST WE FORGET"

The last Monday of the month of May is celebrated as Memorial Day each year in our nation. It began with the purpose of decorating the graves of the soldiers who fought in the War Between the States, 1861-64. However, all of our fallen military personnel are remembered on this day. I spoke on one occasion on Memorial Day in the military section of a cemetery in Prattville, Alabama. I had two visual aids in my hands. One was the Purple Heart that was given to my parents after my oldest brother was killed in WWII on April 5, 1945. The other one was a flag that had been placed by my brother’s grave in a military cemetery in the Netherlands. There is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling entitled “Recessional’ (Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia) that I think is very appropriate on this occasion and here are two stanzas of the poem: “God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battle-line, Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine – Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget – Lest we forget! The tumult and the shouting dies; The Captains and the kings depart. Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, And humble and a contrite heart. Lord God of Host, be with us yet, Lest we forget – lest we forget.” The following biblical truths should always be taught and practiced – “Lest We Forget”: 1. We need to remember Jesus Christ when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26. 2. We are to remember those saints who died for the cause of Christ. Colossians 4:18 3. We should always remember our salvation from our sins. 2 Peter 1:5-11. 4. We need to remember that we are to be faithful to Christ. Luke 17:32; I Corinthians 10:12; Revelation 2:5; Luke 9:62. 5. We are to remember the poor and needy. Galatians 2:10; Hebrews 13:16; Galatians 6:10; James 1:27. 6. The youth are to remember God. Ecclesiastes 12:1, 2 7. Remember that the Lord is coming again. II Peter 3: l-10; John 14:1-3. If we fail to remember God in this life and His Word for us to learn and practice, there will come a time when our remembrance will not be pleasant. Please observe these words as found in Luke 16:25: “But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” It is wonderful however to remember that God will forgive and forget our sins and iniquities if we will obey Him and live for Jesus. “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws into their hearts, And in their minds I will write them, then He adds, Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:16, 17). Our Lord has promised if we are faithful, He will give us “the crown of life” Revelation 2:10.

09 May 2021

MOTHERHOOD

It is always good to remember a godly mother. Jesus while on the cross of shame and suffering thought of His mother and instructed John to care for her after His death (John 19:26, 27). One of the sweetest words in any language is ‘Mother’. A dictionary is not necessary to possess an understanding of such a meaningful term. Not all mothers are wives but they should be and not all wives are mothers but God permitting they can be. One of the primary purposes of marriage is the propagating of the human race (Genesis 1:27). The role of motherhood should never be taken lightly nor should the status of being a mother be made light of in this modern age. There is no greater relationship for a woman to sustain in this life than being a Christian mother. Perhaps the crowning act of creation by the Lord God was the forming of woman from the side of man. God saw that it was not good for man to be alone thus He gave to him a help suitable for him. Adam later named this woman “Eve” because she was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 2:18-25; 3:20). The wise man taught that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing”” and that “a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14). In the bringing forth of a child the husband and wife truly become one flesh. There is the binding together of the two. Motherhood is the highest honor given to women. No matter what else she may do in life it should be secondary to her being the kind of mother that God desires. A mother is greatly responsible for the spiritual training of her children (Proverbs 22:6). Her influence is great for good or bad. Abraham Lincoln said of his mother, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”. An old Spanish proverb states that “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy”. Most of us have heard the old saying that “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. No doubt Queen Jezebel exerted a tremendous amount of evil influence on her husband Ahab and their wicked son Ahaziah (I Kings 16:30; 22:52, 53). Several years ago “Ma Barker” trained her sons to rob, steal and to kill. It was said that the infamous Nero had a murderess for a mother. However, the Bible is replete with examples of godly mothers who influenced their loved ones to live for the Lord. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, guided that young heart in the right way because when he became an adult, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasure of sin.” (Numbers 26:59; Hebrews 11:24, 25). No doubt students of the Bible know of the beautiful story of Hannah and how she received a son from the Lord. This wonderful woman had promised that she would give the child to the Lord as long as he lived (V.28). Hannah named her son Samuel. This young boy, at a tender age, was carried to the house of God to be taught and trained by Eli the high priest of God (I Samuel 1). Samuel became one of the truly outstanding leaders in Israel, serving God and his people as prophet, priest and judge. If there were more Hannahs in the homes there would be more preachers in the pulpits. Jedidah was the wife of the wicked king Amon but she was also the mother of the young and good Josiah (2 Kings 22:1)). In contrast to the wickedness of his father it is said of Josiah that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2). We must conclude that his good mother and perhaps Jeremiah the prophet exerted a godly influence upon Josiah. Then consider the mother John the Baptist, Elizabeth, who walked righteous before God, “walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). We also learn that she was determined to name her son John (Luke1:13, 60) Mary, the mother of Jesus, was blessed greatly by having been chosen by God to give birth to the Son of God (Luke 1:42). Mary was a typical mother in many ways. For instance, she treasured in her heart the things said about the baby Jesus and later the things which he said (Luke 2:19, 51). Finally we mention the grandmother and mother of Timothy. These two godly women, Lois and Eunice, had taught Timothy from his earliest childhood “the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14, 15). These are some of the godly mothers mentioned in the Bible who are worthy of imitation by Christian mothers today. A virtuous mother is industrious as is brought out by the passage of scripture in Proverbs 31:10-31. Certainly the daily chores of a mother are demanding. She is also considerate of the needs of others in her community. Dorcas was one who was “full of good works and charitable deeds” (Acts 9:36, 39). The widow who was to be enrolled by the church must have been “well reported for good work…if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work” (I Timothy 5:10). Also the Christian mother and wife will be hospitable. Again from I Timothy 5:10, “if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet” From Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” The Shunammite woman manifested a wonderful attitude of such hospitality in regards to the prophet Elisha as recorded in 2 Kings 4:8-37. This quality of hospitality makes the home pleasant where people love to visit. We need always to show our respect and honor to our mother whether they are living or have died (Ephesians 6:1, 2). We can do this by living for the Lord and being the proper influence for good among our peers. DEDICATED TO MOTHERS IN THE HOMES By Grace Crowell So long as there are homes to which Men turn—at close of day, So long as there are homes where Children are, and women stay, If faith and love and loyalty are found Across those sills, A stricken nation can recover From grievous ills. So long as there are homes where Fires burn, and there is bread, So long as there are homes where Lamps are lit---and prayers are said, Though a people falter in darkness, And nations grope, With God himself back of these little homes, We still have hope There Are Homes" from Light of the Years by Grace Noll Crowell, Copyright, 1936,

11 April 2021

THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE

As I look out the window and across the street I see a beautiful Bradford pear tree in full bloom and a Redbud tree also in full bloom. God, the Creator of the universe, is causing the vegetative kingdom which has been dormant to come alive! The display of such beauty that we presently see and will be seeing for weeks to come as the trees bloom and the flowers and shrubbery break forth their radiant colors should cause the believer’s heart to praise and glorify the name of the Almighty God. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 19:1-4: “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork, Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.” Someone has said that there are two books, nature and the Bible that declare there is a Supreme Being. The heavens and the earth in their splendor and magnificence should cause every person to have faith in God but that is not the case. The apostle Paul in writing about the depravity of the Gentile world in his day mentions this very thing in Romans 1:18-21: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them, 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.” Some people have eyes that will not see and hearts that will not accept the truth that God, by the power of His word, brought the universe into existence. With the renewal of life in the vegetative kingdom at this time of the year our hearts are made to think of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb. This is one of the cardinal doctrines of the New Testament. A part of the good news of Christ is the teaching regarding His resurrection from the dead. Had Jesus not risen from the dead early that first day of the week, His death on Calvary would be meaningless. We would still be in our sins, our faith would be in vain and we certainly would be miserable (See I Corinthians 15). The apostle taught in chapter fifteen that because our Lord arose from the grave we have the promise that we shall also rise from the dead at His second coming. Jesus Himself said as recorded in John 5:28: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” When I witness the beauties of spring with its shows of new life I cannot help but think of the words of my Lord Jesus Christ: “Jesus said to her, “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

09 April 2021

THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1, NKJV). During the last two weeks of March, 2021, the state of Alabama, along with other states in the south suffered scattered and severe damage and the loss of lives due to terrible tornadoes. In one community in Alabama, 5 lives were lost when a horrific storm hit their homes. It has been estimated that in about 30 seconds these precious lives were taken by the tornado. The people did not know they were going to die that day. No doubt, they all had plans for the next day following the bad weather. How often has this happened to individuals who did not know their earthly life would end on a certain day. In James 4:13, 14, we read, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” It was not wrong or immoral to make future plans to travel to a city and do business. The real problem in this context is to be found in verses 15 and 16: “Instead you ought to say, “if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” These individuals were making definite plans formulated by their own wisdom and pride and were leaving God completely out of their intentions. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. The wise man wrote in Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.” The Psalmist prayed, “LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4-6). For whatever reason, the psalmist, in his deep emotions, desired to know when he would die. Perhaps it was the suffering he was experiencing but the exact time of his death was not to be revealed. It is worthy to note that mankind is “frail” and fragile when it comes to life on this earth. We just do not know the exact time when death may overtake us. Death may be compared to a hurricane. Because of prolonged sickness, we know death is coming and we have time to prepare for it. Then it may be like a tornado, death comes sudden and without warning. Someone has said, “What a transient, monetary being I am, how soon I shall cease to be, how little a while I shall continue.” Preparation to meet God when we die is more important than the time or the how we leave this world. Israel of old had committed idolatry and was steeped in sin of every kind. God was to bring judgement upon His people. The prophet Amos gave this warning: “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” This warning can be given to all of mankind. How we live is more important than how we die. Would you not study His Word, believe in His Son Jesus Christ, turn from your sins and be baptized for the remission of your sins while you have the time and opportunity (Romans 10:17; John 8:24; Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 2:36-38? You will be saved by the grace of God and by the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1, 2, 9;Acts 22:16;Revelation 1:5). PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD “Careless soul, why will you linger, Wandering from the fold of God? Hear you not the invitation? O prepare to meet thy God. Careless soul, O heed the warning, For your life will soon be gone; O how sad to face the judgment, Unprepared to meet thy God.”