05 July 2022

PRAY THAT GOD WILL BLESS AMERICA

The blood of thousands of our men and women who have fought for our country and our freedom flows like a mighty river; yet, we are using this freedom to destroy the moral fiber of our people. It has become a license to do as we please without considering what God would have us to be as a nation of people. Eventually we will reap as we have been sowing (Galatians 6:7, 8). It is most important that we give heed to the following warnings: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God” and “Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces” (Psalm 9:17; 50:22). The story is told about a student who wanted to fool his professor in some way. He held a bird in his hand and asked the professor, “What do I have in my hand?” The professor replied, “It is a bird.” The student asked, “What color is it?” “It is a red bird,” answered the professor. Then the student asked, “Is it dead or alive?” The wise old professor said, “The power of life or death is in your hand!” The power to revive faith in God and His standard of morals and ethics is in our hands. May the lyrics of the beautiful song ‘God Bless America’ written by Irving Berlin ever be our desire, hope and prayer. God Bless America While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free, Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. " God Bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her Thru the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam God bless America, My home sweet home. - Irving Berlin, 1918, Wikipedia Encyclopedia .

23 June 2022

PLANTING AND PRODUCING

The farmers have planted the seed for this year’s crops as evident by the plants of various kinds now growing. Even we who have gardens annually anticipate the time when we can enjoy working the soil. It is also a wonderful experience to be able to enjoy the vegetables from the garden. There is an age old truth that we would like to bring to your attention once again and that is, you always reap as you have sown. This seems very simple and elementary but it is very profound. In the study of the parable of the sower or soils, as recorded in Luke 8, we learn that Jesus used the common and known to teach spiritual truths to those of sincere and honest hearts (8:10). Jesus said that the seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11). God’s power of salvation today is the gospel of His Son (Romans 1:16). The word never changes. It will always produce after its kind. The soil is also most important because it represents the various kinds of hearts. If there is a failure in reaping, such cannot be blamed on the seed for therein is the God given power to germinate and reproduce. James wrote that we should “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21). Peter declared that we have “been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (I Peter 1:23). Wherein is the failure to produce? It must be in the soil or the heart of a man. Some hearts are like the hard ground, others like the stony and/or thorny ground. Please notice the following observations. 1. In order for the seed (word) to be effective and produce, the soil (heart) must necessarily be prepared in order to receive the seed (gospel). It is written that Rehoboam did that which was evil “because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord” (II Chronicles 12:14). In contrast, we read of a faithful servant of God: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). 2. The seed (gospel) must be sown (preached). The seed (word) must be sown (taught). This is the responsibility of the sower (Christian). Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone (Mark 16:15). The more seed that is sown, the greater the harvest. Are we sowing the seed of the kingdom as we should? 3. The seed (word) will always produce after its kind. In Genesis 1:11,12, we learn that “the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. and God saw that it was good.” This principle is true in the moral and spiritual kingdom. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7, 8: “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap, For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Whenever the gospel of Christ is taught and obeyed, only Christians and churches of Jesus Christ are produced. One can be a Christian today just like in the first century by obeying the same gospel of Jesus Christ. When a penitent believer is immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, the Lord adds that person to His church (Acts 2:36-38, 47). The word of God only produces Christians only!

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.”

05 June 2022

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.