Browse Month: July 2016

Afraid? Of What?

Church of Christ Bible Scripture TeachingsIn Luke 8:26-37, we read of the healing of the man possessed by demons who is healed by Jesus. The demons are allowed to enter pigs which rush off a cliff and are drowned in the lake. When the people of the region see this, they ask Jesus to “leave their region”. There have been many who have given reasons for this request from the people of the region. We know that the people were from the area of the Decapolis and so were not Jews. We are told that they were afraid and asked Jesus to leave – but what were they afraid of?

We can assume that they were afraid of the economic impact that Jesus may have if all the pigs in the area were to end up in the lake. They were afraid of the power demonstrated by Jesus when they saw the once violent, demon-possessed man now sitting calmly in his right mind. They recognized that Jesus represented the God of the Jews and they weren’t sure what or how to respond to His power. And perhaps they were afraid of the changes that a man like Jesus would make to their lifestyle.

Years ago in northern India, a missionary was preaching to group of local people all seated on the ground. He told of the Christ who loved the whole world and came to serve others. He told about the abuse that he suffered, how he was mocked and spat upon, and how he was condemned to die on Calvary. He described the sufferings of Jesus on the way to the cross, and how his friends deserted him. And finally he told of Jesus, on the cross in terrible suffering, crying out “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!”

When the missionary reached this point, an old Hindu priest could stand it no longer. He rushed over, threw himself at the missionary’s feet and said over and over again – “We want you to leave India, we want you to leave India.” When asked, “Why do you want me to leave?”, the old priest replied “Because we have no story like this. We have no Savior who lived a sinless life, died for His enemies, and prayed for the forgiveness of those who took His life. If you keep telling this story, our people will forsake the temples and follow your savior.”

Those who would accept Jesus must change their lives. Many are not willing to do so and so will not respond to the Savior. Their response is to ask Jesus to “leave our country”. Perhaps that is some of what is behind the move in our nation today to remove Jesus from the public square. If His message is taught, people will understand that He requires a change in lifestyle and will forsake the ‘temples of the culture’. Jesus had predicted that “when I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.” (John 12: 32) The idea of the Son of God shedding His blood for all mankind is unique in all the religions of the world. It is such an absurd notion to the world’s standards that those who accept it cannot continue in the same path they had been following. Let us keep the cross of Jesus firmly in the forefront of our hearts, minds, and teaching – and may we show it our words and lives. Let us invite Jesus to stay, not leave our nation, our communities, and our own lives.

http://arlingtoncoc.com located in Cincinnati, OH

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Actions or Words

Bible Lessons (2) Matthew 26:7 A woman came unto him having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at the table.

People always said that “actions speak louder than words”. How very true.

Nothing speaks louder about our commitment to Christ than how we prioritize spending our time and money. The one commodity every person alive today has in common is time.

We make conscious decisions how we will spend that time, such as going to school, work, the time we watch television, read, hopefully have our quiet time with the Lord, go shopping, etc.
We consciously decide how we will spend our day. For most of us, our time is very valuable. We guard it. We carefully schedule it. We recognize that it is a precious resource. It is critical to make the most of each day since when it is over it is never coming back.

And think about this: Time, like everything else belongs to God. It is no different from anything else we have in this life. It belongs to Him!

Only by His grace we have this commodity we call time to use each day.
He gives it to us to achieve our purpose in this life, to serve and glorify Him.
Recognize each day as the gift from God that it is. Recognize that it has been given to you for the purpose of serving Him.

That service comes in many forms. Most are called to serve Him in the day to day places life takes us, such as: the classroom, our place of work, the playground, the shopping mall. Most of us serve Him throughout our normal day to day routine. The danger is that we forget how precious time really is, and that like everything else. it belongs to Him.

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What Really Matters

Bible Scripture TruthIn the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon gives two main points from all that he had tried, learned, and seen. The first is :
-If a person does not live to honor God, life will be in vain. If there were no God to judge, then there would be no accountability, and life as we know it would pointless and meaningless. If there were no God, then nothing matters – when you die, that is all there is so why live with any moral constraint or concern for others at all.

The second is:

-Because there is a God who is the creator and sustainer of all things, then everything does matter. Eccl 12:13-14 “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

It will matter how we used our time, talents, and resources. It will matter whether we wasted them or used them to honor God. It matters what we did, saw, said, thought, and touched. And we will have to answer to God for what we did with the things that he had given us.

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A Time to Think

Bible Lessons (2)Right now is a great time to think about your soul. Just a little while ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving, thanking the Lord for his blessings and care. And now Christmas has just passed, when people think on the birth of Jesus even if the Bible doesn’t say what day he was born or give us any instructions to celebrate that day, whenever it was. In just a few more days, we will celebrate New Year’s Day, and think about a time of new beginnings. All of these could lead us to God and His Son , if we would only think about them in a spiritual way.

If any of this encourages people to think about their souls, then the chances to reach them with the gospel increases. When a person is thinking about God, spiritual things, and their souls, then they are much more likely to apply what they hear or read to their lives. And when we obey Jesus and find forgiveness of sins, salvation, and the promise of heaven, then their life can literally change.

Now is a great time to think about your soul – right now! Paul wrote in 2 Cor 6:2 ….. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. Right now, is the time to think about your soul. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, what day or month it is, or what time of the day – Right now is the time to think about the salvation of your soul!

You see, right now is the only time that we have for sure. Yesterday, or even a minute ago is already gone and cannot be retrieved. Tomorrow, or even an hour from now is not guaranteed – and is uncertain. It may come and it may not, but Now is here and available. You can do something now, but before you know it the opportunity will be gone. Some live their lives expecting to have another chance, and then another one in an endless string. But it is a fact that somewhere along the way your string of ‘now’ moments will come to an end. Then there will be no more opportunities to change things and save your eternal soul. We do not know when that last chance may be – perhaps even today, maybe even as you finish reading this. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by – think about your soul, and obey the Lord. Right now is the time to make things right with God.

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A Sheep, Not a Lamb

Church of Christ DevotionalWe know the parable of the lost sheep that Jesus told in :

Luke 15:3-7. Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Did you realize that it was a sheep, not a lamb that had gone astray? It was a full grown sheep that had left the company of the ninety-nine and was lost. It was a sheep that the good shepherd sought and brought back to the safety of the fold. Why did Jesus choose to have a full grown sheep instead of a lamb to be the one who was lost?

Why was he so concerned about that sheep? The danger is that if the sheep go astray, they will lead the lambs astray too. The lambs will follow the sheep wherever they go. If the sheep goes wrong, it won’t be long before the lambs are as wrong as the sheep. The lesson of the parable is not just that God is concerned with the individual, but also the power of influence of the individual. There are many full grown sheep who have strayed away from the leading of the Shepherd and His word. Their lambs are following them into the same error and eventual destruction. We need to pray for and try to restore the sheep not only for their sake, but also for the sake of their lambs. If the lambs are last, some sheep will have to pay a terrible price at judgment.

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