The Line

9 06 2015

Image result for crossing the line

Lines are everywhere! There are lines in parking lots to designate the parking spaces. There are lines drawn at intersections so that pedestrians know where to cross the street. There are little, but important, lines drawn on rulers to show units of measure. There are lines drawn on baseball diamonds, basketball courts, and football fields to help the players and referees know if the balls, and players, are in or out.
Lines can be very important. They help us know where we stand. We are either on one side of the line or the other.
Exodus 32 tells us that Moses drew a line. Here’s why: God’s people had participated in a drunken party and had worshiped a golden calf. Drunken idolaters! Moses knew that God demands that people love, obey and worship only Him. In a very courageous move, Moses stepped in front of all those people and drew a line by saying, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come to me. . . .” (Ex. 32:26). That day, many crossed the line by standing with Moses and the Lord.
Jesus, too, drew a line when He called those from the multitude to follow Him. Jesus’ words make a very clear line: either you are for Christ or you are against Him. That same line exists today. We must decide on which side of that line we will stand.
Many choose to stand on both sides of the line. And for those individuals Jesus replies, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15, 16). There is no middle ground with the Lord. In fact, for those who try, it makes Him sick to His stomach. Take a stand on God’s side.

 A Treasury of Bible Illustrations





Unselfish People are Happier People

5 06 2015

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“Psychologist Bernard Rimland, at the Institute for Child Behavior Research in San Diego, has just published a simple test.
“Make a list of 10 persons whom you know the best. After each name write either H (for happy) or N (for unhappy). Then go down the list again, this time writing S (for selfish) and U (for unselfish) after each name. Once you have completed your list, draw a table… count each category, and place the numbers in the appropriate cell.
“When Rimland added up the cases of 1,988 people rated by 216 students in 6 college classes, he found that the happy/selfish category was almost empty (only 78 of the cases), while 827 fell into the happy/unselfish cell. Paradox: Selfish people are by definition devoted to bringing themselves happiness. Judged by others, however, they seem to succeed less often than people who work at bringing happiness to others.
“Conclusion: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”—Cris Cox
365-Day Devotional Commentary, The.

“In the Christian life if not the alphabet, “U” always comes before “I.”





The Seven Modern Sins

4 05 2015

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  1. Politics without principles.
  2. Pleasures without conscience.
  3. Wealth without work.
  4. Knowledge without character.
  5. Industry without morality.
  6. Science without humanity.
  7. Worship without sacrifice.

Canon Fredrick Donaldson





Folly

7 04 2015

The Book of Proverbs gives us very sage advice from the deep wells of divine wisdom. It has much to say about characters such as the fool, scorner, sluggard and simple. Another subject of interest is the word “folly”.

Folly- the actions and reactions of a fool; senselessness

Image result for folly

Proverbs 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
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Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
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Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
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Proverbs 14:18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
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Proverbs 14:24 The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.
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Proverbs 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
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Proverbs 15:21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
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Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
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Proverbs 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
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Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
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Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
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Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
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Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Wise Observations:

  • “You’re making a fool of yourself, and I’ve never seen better craftsmanship.
  • “It is never wise to argue with a fool; the bystander does not know which is which.”
  • “Wise men think without talking; fools talk without thinking.”
  • “The fool declares: “I never make misteaks!”
  • “A fool and his money are soon partying.”




Sabbath Rest

17 03 2015

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– Tim Keller

In the Bible, Sabbath rest means to cease regularly from and to enjoy the results of your work. It provides balance: ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God’ (Exodus 20:9–10). Although Sabbath rest receives a much smaller amount of time than work, it is a necessary counterbalance so that the rest of your work can be good and beneficial.

God liberated his people when they were slaves in Egypt, and in Deuteronomy 5:12–15, God ties the Sabbath to freedom from slavery. Anyone who overworks is really a slave. Anyone who cannot rest from work is a slave – to a need for success, to a materialistic culture, to exploitative employers, to parental expectations, or to all of the above. These slave masters will abuse you if you are not disciplined in the practice of Sabbath rest. Sabbath is a declaration of freedom.

Thus Sabbath is about more than external rest of the body; it is about inner rest of the soul. We need rest from the anxiety and strain of our overwork, which is really an attempt to justify ourselves—to gain the money or the status or the reputation we think we have to have. Avoiding overwork requires deep rest in Christ’s finished work for your salvation (Hebrews 4:1–10). Only then will you be able to ‘walk away’ regularly from your vocational work and rest.

Sabbath is the key to getting this balance, and Jesus identifies himself as the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27– 28) – the Lord of Rest! Jesus urges us, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Matthew 11:28–29). One of the great blessings of the gospel is that he gives you rest that no one else will.

 





Les Miserables Medley

28 01 2015

I have not done a book review for quite a while. I have been on a classic book kick, reading books like Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Melville, Hawthorne, and Hugo. For light entertainment I read books like Patterson, Flynn, Koontz, Grishom, King, and Dekker. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is an unforgettable book about human nature, struggle, misunderstanding, suffering, and true repentance. It is rather lengthy and I did not like all the French, but it was well worth the journey. I found this summery of the book in song, absolutely brilliant. To all you lovers of literature and music, enjoy.

Pastor Dave

 





The Consequences of Putting Off Marriage, for Christians and for Culture

9 01 2015

by Shane Morris

The Consequences of Putting Off Marriage, for Christians and for Culture

More young Americans than ever are kicking cans down the road instead of dragging them from their bumpers. In other words, they’re putting off marriage for ever longer periods of time, creating long-term problems for those who don’t wait to have sex and lengthening temptation for those who do wait, especially 20-something Christians.

Writing in World, Warren Cole Smith shares insights from Jennifer Marshall’s recent speech at the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Marshall, a social policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, says the trend among young adults of pushing marriage into their late 20s and beyond spells trouble, which is why she urges Christians to lead the way in helping Americans rethink their priorities.

“The median age of first marriage has risen six years in the last four decades,” says Marshall. “Almost half of women are still single at age 30. That’s compared to an extremely low percentage of aged-30 women in 1970 who were single. We’re having really profound changes. That’s something we’ve got to talk about, particularly in the church where we clearly do prize marriage and want people to be able to find their way to that and have cultural support from the church community. If we’re not talking about that, we’ve got problems.”

What kinds of problems? For one thing, says Marshall, late marriage means late childbearing. And when a sizable percentage or even a majority of women forego their best childbearing years, they see increases in infertility and complications. Even if all goes as planned, she reminded her audience, young people who reallocate to school and career the years historically spent rearing families simply have less time left over when they get around to marriage and children.

And it’s not a rare phenomenon. These days, not saying “I do” or welcoming a newborn until after college and vocation has become the norm. According to recent statistics, a record-breaking number of American adults are single, and fertility rates have dropped into negative territory (more Americans are dying than being born). And because most Americans in their 20s aren’t waiting until marriage to sleep with their romantic partners, it means the marriages they do eventually enter will be less stable, less satisfying, and more likely to end in divorce.

And that’s just the array of problems facing singles as a demographic. Focusing on just the Christian singles, a new set of challenges emerges.

“We [in the church] are teaching kids at 14 to wait until they get married before they have sex,” says Marshall. “Historically, that might have been until they were 21. If they’re not getting married until they’re 30, that looks like a really tough hurdle. As a public policy person looking at these questions, we look at the aggregate data. As the typical age of first marriage is climbing, we’re also seeing cohabitation rates climb. We’re seeing unwed childbearing climb dramatically.”

Without the “easy out” of premarital sex and cohabitation, Christian young people often find themselves in a struggle to keep themselves for a honeymoon that could be a decade or more away. The average age for marriage among American men is now 29. For women it’s 27. This means churches are asking Christian students to spend, on average, 15 years fighting the strongest hormones of their lives. It’s an expectation no previous generation of believers has faced.

But increased emphasis on self-betterment isn’t entirely to blame. As Karen Swallow Prior writes at The Atlantic, our culture’s conception of marriage itself as a “capstone,” rather than a “cornerstone,” has caused many to look at matrimony as unattainable. As one group of sociologists behind a landmark study on the subject wrote, marriage is now “something [young people] do after they have all their ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.”

How can church leaders respond to the pressures for young Christians to treat marriage as a cherry on top of academic, vocational, and sexual experience? Is the answer to give up on college and settle for less rewarding careers? How do we exalt marriage as a “good thing,” and a picture of God’s “favor” (Genesis 2:18, Proverbs 18:22), without making it an idol? And how can we offer Christian 20-somethings a means to resist settling for sex without a ceremony?

A few years ago in Christianity Today, Mark Regnerus and three other scholars offered suggestions, but above all emphasized that early marriage runs deeply counter to industrial culture in the 21st century. If we’re serious about confronting this issue, they argued, the church should be prepared to take radical steps toward supporting both young couples and those who find themselves single beyond their 20s but choose to obey God by remaining celibate. Above all, they agree, the church must not remain silent about the consequences of widespread delays in marriage. Understanding the trend and acknowledging the young people who live it is the first step toward a change that desperately needs to be made.