The Greatest Need in America

We’ve been thinking much about the state of our country. Economic woes, fear of enemies, health concerns, natural disasters, spiritual decline, and confused morality call for our attention; and we continually ask what God’s will is for this country.

We are perplexed but not surprised that the fastest growing religious group in America is the group that identifies themselves as having “no religion.” According to the American Religious ldentification Survey taken in 2001, adults who do not subscribe to any religious identification has more than doubled from 14.3 million in 1990 to 29.4 million in 2001; their proportion has grown from just eight percent of the total in 1990 to over fourteen percent in 2001. Only 77 percent of Americans now claim to be Christians.

Many of those who claim to be Christians have convictions far different from the teaching of the New Testament. For instance, the Pew Forum recently released a survey saying that 65 percent of American Christians say that many religions can lead to eternal life, a fact that contradicts Jesus’ plain statement in John 14:6 (see also Acts 4:12; Ephesians 4:4-6)

What America needs most is the gospel, the old story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. That divine story will lead them to change their hearts and lives repentance and to unite with Christ in baptism. The gospel will open their hearts to faith, hope, and love.

The Priesthood of All Believers by Phil Sanders

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:4-5 NASB). serve as priests.

Under the old covenant, only the Levites could Priests had two functions: (1) they offered up sacrifices in worship, and (2) they were to “to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses (Lev. 10:11)

Under the new covenant, however, every Christian shares in the priesthood. Every Christian has the responsibility to worship and to teach others the unsearchable riches of Christ. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10 ESV).

There are souls all around your neighborhood that needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, and God has asked every Christian to be involved in proclaiming the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We Love the Souls of Everyone – Phil Sanders

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

Because we love the souls of men and want them to go to heaven, we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul knew this burden and said, “l am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So l am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:14-16)

Because we love the souls of men, we are not afraid to speak out against sin. We know that passions of the flesh “wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

Because we love the souls of men, we preach the need to follow Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Because we love the souls of men, we point people to what is best. The Lord Jesus came to bring us an abundant life (John 10:10). His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He is “our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). We can do no better than to preach Jesus and Him crucified to every soul in every place who will hear. 

 

Finding My Worth in God by Kerry Williams

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil 2:3 NKJV).

One of the greatest struggles for humanity is the discovery of our own value and self-worth. People often feel so very empty and insignificant. The cares of life tend to batter down our self- image and leave us with a sense of meaninglessness and even self-loathing. This is part of the reason why so many people turn to so many vices-alcohol, drugs, sexuality-in an attempt to “fill the void.”

The world is quick to offer solutions. The self-appointed therapists of afternoon talk shows and the mega-rich attitude coaches of late-night infomercials tell us that we need to practice “self love,” and engage in more positive “self-talk.” They tell us that we have to love ourselves first before we can ever learn to love anyone else. Yet, however quaint their advice may be, it is as far from truth as the east is from the west.

The Bible tells us that positive self-image does not come through believing we are wonderful, but through the knowledge that God loves us. We don’t need better “self-esteem,” but need a better understanding of God’s estimation of us! In fact, the Bible tells us that the first step to wholeness is understanding and accepting our own wretchedness and turning in utter dependence to God’s awesome grace. Perhaps the old children’s song has more practical advice on developing self-esteem all ot today’s pop-psychology: “Jesus first, yourself LAST and others in-between.”

TEN WAYS TO LOVE

1. LISTEN without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)
2. SPEAK without accusing. (James 1:19)
3. GIVE without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)
4. PRAY without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)
5. ANSWER without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)
6. SHARE without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)
7. ENJOY without complaint. (Philippians 2:14)
8. TRUST without wavering. (Corinthians 13:7)
9. FORGIVE without punishing. (Colossians 3:13)
10. PROMISE without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)

What does it mean that the meek will “inherit the earth”?

As to the expression “inherit the earth,” the
following facts should be noted:

1. God is the owner of this earth (Psalm 24:1).

2. Those who obey Christ become children of God (Galatians 3:27; Hebrews 5:9), and joint-heirs” with the Lord (Romans 8:17)

3. The Father supplies all our needs (Philippians4:19), we therefore enjoy this earth and its blessings more than all others.

4. Mainly, however, our inheritance is spiritual (Acts 20:32); we are heirs in the kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 5:5), and citizenship in that John 3:3-5; Colossians 1:13).

5. Finally, we also look for an inheritance that is reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4), because we are aware that the earth will be
destroyed when Christ returns (2 Peter 3:10).

Labor Day: What it Means…

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country

Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. (U.S. Dep. of Labor)

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. (Psa. 128:2)

Son Shine by Josh Blackmer

There are those little things that we take for granted. When we are
faced with a life without them suddenly life is so much more difficult,
and we mourn the loss of what was once so common. Electricity, A/C
and running water are among those things. Another more infinitely
simple blessing that we often overlook is light.

It is more than obvious that we would not exist without the light of
the sun. It supplies heat that keeps us from freezing the atmosphere
of space. It keeps all the vegetation alive which keeps us alive. The
light of the sun is an impartial blessing to all people. In the context of
loving your enemies, Jesus spoke of God sending sun and rain upon
the good and evil as an example of His love. “He causes His sun to
rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and
the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). In like fashion, God sent His Sun to be
the light for all mankind. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I
am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the
darkness, but will have the Light of life’” (John 8:12). John also
describes the power of the source of this light. “In Him was life,
and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5). In this
description of Himself, we see the usefulness of the Christ as a light
for the world. The Christ is a light that can’t be extinguished in any
way. He is a light that is to guide us through the darkness of this
world. We also need to be filling ourselves with that light, “for you
were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as
children of Light” (Eph 5:8). The life we lived before we became
Christians was a life lived in darkness. Now, we can pattern our lives
after Him. Not only can we be children of light, but we can also put on
the armor of light. “Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). We are to be an
influence of light as we shine the light of the Son into the darkness
around us. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they
may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven”
(Matt. 5:16).

The Son shone upon the world and brought the blessing of eternal
life to all who would believe and are obedient to His word. However
Jesus spoke of a time when those who are unfaithful will be separated
from His light. “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the
outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of
teeth” (Matt. 8:12). A time of utter darkness is coming. Those who
have not prepared and not kept their lamps lit will not be blessed to
be in the presence of the Light. “We must work the works of Him who
sent Me as long as it is day” (John 9:4)

Your Image of Jesus by Josh Blackmer

This question may not matter to you. I believe we are at liberty to
choose within the options the Bible provides. What is your image of
Jesus? There are a lot of artists who have depicted Him. The images
have taken on the aspects of the particular culture in which they
were created. Most of them have an eye pleasing, peaceful, angelic
image of Him, which is contrary to Isaiah’s prophecy (53:2). Some
depict Him with sheep, some with children and some on the cross,
all of which happened at some time and all of which speak to His
earthly appearance. What if I told you there was another way to
look at Jesus the Christ?The apostle John writes more about the image
and person of the Christ than any other apostle. It is John that writes
about His origin, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). It is John who records
Jesus’ seven “I Am” statements: “Bread of life” (6:48), “Light of the
world” (8:12), “the Door” (10:7), “the Good Shepherd” (10:11), “the
Way, the Truth and the Life” (14:6), and “the True Vine” (15:1). In the
gospel of John (21:12-14) and in his first letter (1:1-4), John makes it
clear that the resurrected Jesus was not a ghost but the real living
person of Jesus. With so much being written by John about the
presage of the Christ, it is no wonder that he would be the one to
record the most powerful images of the exalted Savior.

When John was on the Isle of Patmos, the visions that he was shown
of heaven and things that “must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1)
included imagery of the Exalted Christ. In the opening chapter of
Revelation, John records what he sees of Jesus: voice like thunder
or many waters (1:10,15), clothed in a robe with golden sash (1:13),
hair like white wool (1:14), eyes like fire (1:14), feet like molten
bronze (1:15), two-edged sword for a tongue (1:16), and His face
shown like the sun (1:16). This was such an impressive sight that
John fell down as though he was dead. Jesus comforts John and tells
him to write to the seven churches of Asia. Jesus opens these letters
with a description of Himself, some of which comes from John’s vision
of Him. It is important to note that Jesus would use the imagery of His
exalted form to address these letters. It is this form that would
impress upon them the changes they needed to make. It was this form
that would encourage those congregations suffering persecution. If
you were under the thumb of an abusive government, who would you
want as your Savior? A nice looking guy holding a sheep or the exalted
King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:11-16)? Tremble and repent
at the thought of Him who has the eyes of flaming fire. Take courage
and fight with the One who judges and wages war.

Your Children Need Homeschooling

This article is 10 years old, very relevant for us today.Dan Jenkins Sunday, 16 March 2008

On February 28, 2008 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled that homeschooling violated the laws of that state. Over 200,000 children face the possibility of being removed from parental teaching and molding of their lives and being forced to let the government assume these chores. The issue is headed for the California Supreme Court, but the implications are astounding.

The latest information from 2007 shows that Florida has nearly 56,000 children from about 37,000 homes where children are being home-schooled. Palm Beach County has more children (4,070) from more homes (2,996) than any county in the state. The increasing popularity of this method of rearing children (the verage annual increase since 1986 is 20%) shows the concern many parents have about what is happening.

All of this has got me thinking. There are those in government who think they know far more about the needs of children than the parents of those same children. Their view is that parents simply are not equipped to ensure children are prepared for life.

Educationally, this concept may be true. However, consider the fact that these same entities believe that morality and ethics should come from the state. They feel that their morals standards are what children need. Let the state, through its schools, teach children about homosexuality, birth control, origin, situational ethics, etc. The tragedy is that far too many parents have abdicated their God- given responsibilities in these very areas.

Parents, think about this for a moment. Are you homeschooling your children? I am not asking about educational homeschooling, but about using your homes as a school where children learn about God Is it possible that when our children began school, we forget the most important “school” of all!

Don’t be fooled. In the absence of spiritual emphasis around the dinner table and other social times with your children, Satan will ensure he uses every possible means to capture the souls of your precious children. Every Christian parent should be involved in “home-schooling” his child!