These blog articles are meant to get one to think about the word of God and how we can use it today in our lives as well as look at the world today and see where they have gone astray. The thoughts are constructed using the word of God as the measure and are put together to inspire consideration of His word and His will.
As we end the month of January and head into February we are reminded that we are almost through the difficult time of winter and headed toward the renewal that spring will give us in March if the Lord wills. As we live today, though, we must be ever vigiilant against the temptations that Satan puts before us. One of those temptations can be social media and the internet. We need to be careful with these tools and make sure we are sharp and aware in our use of them. As with any tool one uses there needs to be a fundamental understanding of how it works so one uses it properly. We would not attempt to use a screwdriver to hammer nails so it is equally important to understnad how social media works before we get into using it. There is much good that can be accomplished through the use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We can make people aware of religious activities that are going on such as Bible studies or regularly scheduled worship activities. We can also use these to let others know the need for prayer for a specific member as they go through a difficult illness or something else in that realm. However, there are bad things out there in those networks and we need to be careful not to expose ourselves or our children to those things even accidentally. Those of us who are now raising children need to be aware also of how others use their socail media accounts. Some use them to put provocative pictures out there to be seen by EVERYONE. Others use them to bait people into bad decisions. It is important that we keep a close eye on the content that our children look at and probably would be better served keeping them clear of it until they are of a more responsible age. While the first century Christians did not have these technological advances that we have today they still had their own type of networking going on and we see Paul teaching agaisnt the idea of gossip in 2 Corinthians 12:20 "For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;" They had their struggles with that and today another challenge with social media is the idea of backbiting or gossip. We must be careful with what we put out on these sites becasue it can be read and seen by anyone at any time. I am not saying social media is evil and we must run away from it. I am merely suggesting that we exercise caution and wisdom in getting involved with it and let us make sure that we keep the thoughts of Col. 3:17 in mind when we post. Paul writes there: "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." God bless us as we strive to serve Him daily and let us use these tools that are available as He would have us use them.
It is amazing to see how the perceptions of ideas change from generation to generation. The government was shut down over the weekend, for those who didn't notice, and the reason it was shut down was because some senators, led by Chuck Schumer, refused to pass a bill that would fund the government because the majority party had not come to a resolution about these who are called DREAMERS. These are children of illegal immigrants. It is amazing to me that we are now at a place where "open borders" are readily accepted by the left. It has not been twenty years since the left was fighting for immigration control and in the span of a generation their tone has completely changed. What does this mean for the Christian? Immigration is not a real issue for the religious world to consider. It simply is not our place to make laws for the country. The issue is, rather, where will our hearts be in twenty years? Will we be of the same conviction we are today or will we have changed our mindset on core values of Christianity? Let us not be people who are "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine"(Eph. 4:14) Let us rather be people who "speak as the oracles of God."(1 Pet. 4:11) May God help us not to be people who change conviction based on how others feel about a subject. Let us be people who are always focused on what the word of God teaches and live our lives with a clear conscience before God. God bless you always in this endeavor.
It is the Monday before Thanksgiving in Newbern, TN and I just got done reading an article on the Fox News App on my phone about more accusations heading at Al Franken about sexual harassment at a state fair maybe 2 years after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. I realize this happened 7 years ago now, but what does it say about our society that I expected to find an article about this topic in the news today? Whether its Roy Moore or Al Franken or the others who have been mentioned in the media in last month or so regarding this type of despicable behavior it needs to be said that immorality in this country is out of control and there needs to be a redirecting of the moral compass of our country as a whole and also individuals need to change their priorities and get back to the wholsome morals and ethics that people used to have. As we appraoch a holiday where as a nation we give thanks it behooves us as Christians to be thankful for our place in the kingdom. As members of God's house we do not have to be around this behavior and we should want to teach others the truth so they can get away from people that exhibit this terrible behavior. The works of the flesh are listed out in Gal. 5:19-21. The really sad thing is that in this country we have a generation that does not want to have anything to do with the Bible or God because both tell them how to live properly and pleasing lives to Him. There is a large segment of our society that does not want to please God and does not want to have anything to do with Him and this is at their own peril. Brethren, let us beware of this and make effort to teach the lost what they need to know to be saved, more importantly let us beware of those who conduct themselves in such a manner and keep ourselves from that impure behavior. God bless us all in these efforts!
When we study the minor prophets in the Old Testament we see a variety of the type of individual used by God to speak to His people. One such person is Hosea. What we see of Hosea in the first couple of chapters in his book is a man given instruction to marry a harlot and in this marriage children are conceived and born. Hosea is then given the name for each child by God. These names carry significance for Hosea and God as they show God's feelings about His people in the northern kingdom of Israel. It is the relationship between Hosea and his wife Gomer that I want to examine briefly in this article. When we consider that God instructed Hosea to marry a harlot and did not follow that instruction with encouragement to bring her out of that life we should find that odd initially. Upon deeper examination we see that God wanted their relationship to serve as an example of the relationship God had with Israel for several generations. They were in a permanent state of adultery with God and harlotry with the idols of the nations around them. When we consider the flagrance of their disobedience to God we shold be reminde of God's patience with them. He did not utterly destroy them the first time they left Him. He gave them many opportunities to come back to Him and be obedient yet they never did. We are reminded that Judah had only a few faithful kings after the splitting of the kingdom. Israel had none! Not a single king from Jeroboam to the captivity was faithful to God. That left them in a permanent state of adultery and harlotry. Hosea's relationship with Gomer mirrored that in that she remained a harlot after marrying Hosea. She was initially faithful but was not later in the marriage just as Israel from the time they entered Canaan to the time they were taken to Assyria. A lesson for us to learn from this example is that today we have a choice to be faithful to God and He is very patient with us in this effort. We need to not take advantage of that, though, and remember that "God is a just judge" (Psalm 7:11). Israel took advatage of God and it worked against them. George Santayana is credited with this quote "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". The wisdom is sound for the Christian. Learn from Israel and turn to God and be fauthful all your days to Him and receive a different reward than those who have been unfaithful to Him. God bless all of us in this effort to be faithful to our God!
When we hear the phrase once saved always saved, as Christians, we should cringe. The Bible teaches clearly about a "falling away". Paul addresses this multiple times in his secon letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thess. 2:3) and his first letter to Timothy (1 Tim. 4:1). John Calvin taught this concept in his theology under the topic persever-ance of the saints. The Bible has other instances where saved being separated from God because of sin happens. Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8; Peter in Galatians 2; Paul wrote later in Galatians chapter 5 about being separated from God in Gal. 5:4 "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." Another passage to take one to to refute the doctrine of once saved always sdaved is 2 Tim. 4:10 and the account of Demas. Calvin's theology fails to take in to account all of what scripture teaches about the subject of being saved and it is our responsibility to properly educate the lost on what ALLof the Bible teaches about this and every subject. God bless us in this effort to bring the lost to Christ.