Mothers come in all shapes and sizes. She works in the kitchen preparing your meals and in the laundry room washing and folding your clothes. She supervises your homework, cheers for you at the game, nurses you when you are sick, helps you solve life’s problems, makes delicious cookies for you, checks your report card, gives you your vitamins, holds you when you hurt, and hugs you when you go to bed. No one seems to understand you as good as your mom.
But a Christian mother does even more. Not only do you see her work diligently with her hands, but she also reads to you from the Bible, prays for you to be kept safe, instills in you moral principles that will make you honest, fair and true. She shows you how to have courage in your despair and how to have strength in times of weakness. She demonstrates how to be strong and yet gentle at the same time. Her example shows you how to have peace in your heart even when trouble threatens. Her faith is seen daily and that is helping you to understand how important trusting and serving God really is.
In worship she sings so sincerely the spiritual songs and hymns. As the sermon is given she listens so attentively and respectfully. She requires that you sit still in your seat during the message from God’s word. In doing this she has taught you respect for the Heavenly Father. She speaks to all a cheerful word when worship services are over. Mothers that serve the Lord are women that help the sick, befriend the lonely, and have a genuine concern for all.
A godly mother supplies strength to her family and to the church. In this way she seeks first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
The Bible speaks of such a woman and calls her “a virtuous woman.” It says that her worth is “far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). Of such a woman, the Bible says, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Prov. 31:28). The Bible says that those closest to her should recognize her value and praise her. In other words, a godly mother should be honored because of her influence for good.
Let every day be mother’s day. Don’t save all of your love and praise for only one day. One day is good, but each day is better. But also, follow her example as she follows the word of God.
The New Testament abounds with lessons from which we can profit concerning the church of our Lord. One of the very best examples we have concerning New Testament Christianity in action is that of the church in Jerusalem. This is the very first congregation established by our Lord upon earth through the apostles (Acts 2). By studying this infant congregation of the Lord's people, we can learn many principles that should be applied today. Growing our faith together makes us strong.
The church in Jerusalem was a church that was concerned. It was concerned in their efforts to do God's will in all things. That concern was so high, that nothing else really mattered. So great was their concern for apostolic teaching, the scriptures show that they continued “steadfastly in the apostles doctrine” (Acts 2:42). They were concerned for the fellowship with their brethren, and in their worship of God. Verse 42 states that they “continued in fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.”
They were concerned with meeting the needs of others. When there was a need, many sold their possessions and gave what they had to those in need. But most outstanding of all was when opposition to the gospel came, and persecution was upon those good brethren because of their unwavering faith in Jesus, they did not give up. They did not wallow in self-pity and despair. They were scattered abroad and went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4). They grew in spite of persecution. When they were tested, they withstood the trials. James stated, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3). The church will grow when we stand and pass the trials of our faith. Our concern for truth and one another will add to our strength.
Lessons are of no value unless they are applied. So, let us notice that the early church grew because they were dedicated to the cause of Christ, and were concerned for the lost. They did not simply offer lip-service, but were doers of that which was good and true (James 1:22). If we simply talk about our Christianity, we deceive ourselves and those around us. We may think that we serve Christ, but in reality, we serve Satan when we do not act (James 1:21-25).
Do we want to be genuine in our Christian? Do we really want the church to grow? Sometimes the way is hard, but we can be encouraged by Paul’s inspired word, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). There will be trials, but there is no other life which offers so many blessings and rich rewards. The Lord expects the church to grow. Concern is the way to make it possible. Be concerned for your own soul and for the souls of all mankind. When we really get concerned -- just watch the church grow.
If any man will serve Christ, the way is clear. You begin by taking up the cross of submission and obedience to Him. Then repent of your sins, confess Jesus as Lord, and then be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). It is now that you will be added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47).
It is not uncommon, sadly, that some brethren (brothers & sisters) have developed a bad habit of talking to others in a rude & hurtful way. While this may not be intentional, if it is a continual action, it causes the hearer to begin to wonder does it not? Notice the definition of the word rude, “offensively impolite or ill-mannered” (bing.com). Not only are some rude today, some “talk down” to others, this is often done when trying to make the other person feel ignorant or inferior. Isn’t it sad that such attitudes exist in the Lord’s church today?
Sadly, the first example that comes to mind is preachers & teachers. Some today have developed the habit of talking to other preachers, teachers and members in such a way as to convey the idea that they are not intelligent. That’s putting it politely. When questions are asked, some respond with rudeness that includes mocking, poking fun or implying that the individual is stupid for asking such a question. What’s interesting is that often this rudeness does not include an answer to the question at all. Poor manners do not make for a proper answer to any question.
Others can project the attitude of arrogance for multiple reasons. A trend that’s too common today is a preacher being arrogant and rude because of his education. Just because someone attended a school and received a degree does not make that person educated in the scriptures. This point has been illustrated repeatedly and very clearly.
The second example is from individual church members. For example, while it is a good idea to encourage others to read and study their Bible daily, it must be done with love. It’s hard for others to feel love if they are being belittled repeatedly. Another example, is to imply that others do or do not study the Bible because the individual asks a question.
We must be careful to not misunderstand or misinterpret someone’s intentions. A proclamation of Bible truth is not being rude simply because it steps on your toes. Some people say things in a rude way while others believe you are rude for simply saying anything at all, the two are not the same.
The problem it seems for some is that their attitude towards others is not according to the word of God. Some believe the “truth in love” approach is saying the truth because you love them, and that gives them the right to be harsh, aggressive, arrogant, and rude. This is not biblical. Truth in love is just that, we warn, teach, or preach the truth of God’s Word and present it in a loving manner. Just because you have the truth or know the truth does not give you the right to be rude. I have yet to see anyone won for Christ with this approach. Neither will there be many who are encouraged with such an approach.
The solution is one that will seem probably “weak” to those who enjoy the rude approach to which they are accustomed. Brethren need to be encouraged to read and study and questions need to be answered with love. Doing things in love must include love, if it does not we should not be surprised when those who are treated poorly leave the congregation or even goes back into the world. Why attend a congregation where someone’s idea of encouragement is harsh and rude?
Those who have such an approach need to examine themselves and decide if they will change their approach to brethren or not, this would include apologies and repentance to those to whom they have treated so harshly. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).
If we love the brethren we will encourage them and build them up in the faith with love in our hearts and not with rudeness on our lips.
When you think of wrath what comes to your mind? We may think of someone who is red in the face. Someone who is yelling & screaming foul language. You may also picture someone who has lost their temper.
What is wrath? Merriam-Webster defines wrath as “strong vengeful anger or indignation”. It’s interesting that wrath includes the idea of vengeance. It’s much more than just losing one’s temper, though that can certainly lead to wrath, it is an excited anger that may lead to lashing out on others.
Have you ever seen someone lash out at someone else? When stressed, frustrated or flustered one may become quick tempered and lash out if they are not careful. It is always easier to talk about controlling one’s anger but it’s much more difficult to actually do it.
What warnings does the Bible give about wrath and anger? Let’s look at a few examples together.
He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29) When a person becomes angry, especially to the point of wrath, it’s common for mistakes (folly) to be made. This is just another reason to try desperately to control one’s anger.
A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
When talking with others we should not intentionally say or do things simply to get someone “fired up” such an attitude is not only wrong but is not the proper attitude of any Christian.
A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. (Proverbs 19:19) There are some that you sometimes have to try to calm down, to try to help an individual see reason and relax, the Bible warns that there are those who you may have to “rescue” in this way, time and time again. Let us not be one who needs such rescuing.
While it is not sinful to be upset over some things: sin, false teaching, promotion of error, etc. The Christian will be unable to win people for Christ if their anger is not in control.
Wrath causes harm to himself/herself, to the family at home, the Christian family at the local congregation and is displeasing to God. When dealing with wrath one should consider first why he/she is angry. Is it worthy being upset about? Having wrath because of the weather or a spilled glass of milk is not a good reason for wrath. We may be upset by it or disappointed but anger is not justified.
Second, consider if you are upset about something that has just taken place or it is a result of others things compounded that resulted in you coming to wrath.
Third, let us consider that if we deal with issues or concerns as they come and not all at once, wrath and anger in general will be much easier to keep at bay.
Fourth, keep in mind that those who have a problem with wrath, most often look foolish. A man/woman succumbing to wrath over something for example like sports…will indeed only look foolish.
Let us remember when it comes to wrath, it is a danger that must be kept at bay.
A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool's wrath is heavier than both of them. (Proverbs 27:3)
By Russ Earl
Throughout history we see repeatedly that man can be and often is, a slow learner. We sometimes take a long time to grasp what the answer is, I am not talking about a math problem.
Man, sometimes must try things, experience things. This is not the best course of action. Though this is often what takes place before he decides, if he ever does, that some experiences are not just overrated, they are sinful and damnable actions.
When faced with sin, man often plunges deeper into the mire of wickedness, before finally surfacing to consider the option of ending any sinful action. Man, sometimes will not consider such until he realizes an action not just as being sinful, but the consequences of it. Man, may see the reality of hell awaiting him because of his actions, or he may not.
Man, will only learn when he accepts the darkness of sin. When we talk about sin being “dark” we mean it’s seriousness, its consequences and the evil actions that define sin. Sin is dark for several reasons.
First, it is dark because it is rooted in evil. Anything that separates man from God is evil and sin certainly separates man from God (Isa 59:2). Second, it is dark because sin does not exist in the light. Throughout the Bible those who are in the light is those working righteousness, not so for those committing sin (Jn 3:20). Third, sin is dark because that’s one of the ways the Bible describes it. (1 Jn 1:6).
Sin is dark because no one can live in sin and walk in the light at the same time. One has to first leave the light, that is walk away from God. “From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness;” Pro 2:13. Man must realize that the battle is real. It’s not something that is imaginary. Sin and its temptations are right before us. Even our own government tempts us to sin by making laws that easily allow us to do so. We must realize the battle against sin is all around us from the world and from Satan himself. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:12
This battle against the darkness that is sin is one that must be won if a person expects to see heaven.
When a person obeys the gospel, they put on the armor of God and begin waging the war against darkness. Against sin, wickedness, evil and all those who support and promote damnable acts. Unlike some systems of belief, the Christian doesn’t fight with physical objects but with the word of God and the truth found within its pages.
Today, let us realize, finally the seriousness of sin. We must realize that with darkness in our lives we can never be pleasing to God. Friend, not one person will enter Heaven unless they are pleasing to God. The darkness of sin and its consequences rest entirely on our shoulders. However, through obedience to the gospel we encounter the blood of Christ. His blood removes our sin and lifts the damnable shade of darkness that has hung over our lives until now. Today, is the day to act. Now is the time for you to climb out of the mire of sin and wickedness. When we obey the Gospel, Christ will lift us up out of the mire much like He lifted Peter from the water during the storm (Mt 14:30-31). Sin is serious, sin is dark, sin is evil. Today, through obedience allow God to bring you out of sin and darkness and into the Kingdom. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” Col 1:13.
God has revealed Himself in so many ways. It is truly sad that men often overlook or take for granted this beautiful revelation. He is revealed in His created universe, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalm 19:1; Psalm 97:6). Add to that; He has clearly revealed Himself in His word, the revelation given by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). This revelation when studied and applied will produce faith in men (Hebrews 11:1-3; Romans 10:17). Thus, we can know who God is and what He expects from His creation. John, by inspiration, stated that eternal life and knowing God are joined together (1 John 5:13). James gives an insight into the character of God. To recognize and honor these attributes demonstrates our respect for Him. In James 1:12-17 we see at least three things that all men need to realize.
1. GOD IS A GIVER (James 1:17, also vs. 5).
The literal translation of verse 5 is, “let man ask of a giving God.” This would contrast the true and living God with the “dead gods” which could give nothing! God’s nature is to be loving, giving and forgiving. He gave Christ for our salvation (John 3:16), the gospel which reveals His plan of salvation (Romans 1:16), the peace which “passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), and the hope which is sure and steadfast (Colossians 1:5, 23, 27). Truly God has “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
2. GOD IS UNCHANGING (James 1:17).
Man needs security and stability for successful living. It is comforting to know that God is unchanging. His love for us does not change (Romans 8:38-39), His justice does not change (Romans 2:1, 11), and His demands upon mankind are unchanging. He has always required that men believe in Him (Hebrews 11:6ff), and that they obey all of His commandments (Hebrews 10:26-31 and Hebrews 11). This unchanging nature helps us to know of our relationship with Him.
3. GOD CREATED MAN FOR HIS PURPOSE (James 1:17).
Man’s whole duty is summarized in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Man’s purpose is to keep His commandments. It may not be popular, but it nevertheless is God’s purpose for us. We are told to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
“Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11).
Do you realize that your view of God will affect how you treat others?
The Nazis. Adolf Hitler viewed God as non-existent. He accepted the theory of evolution which holds the idea of survival of the fittest. His armies killed millions of innocent men, women and children whom they deemed weak and inferior. He believed that not only could they do this, but in view of the evolutionary theory, they should do this. If his parents had taught him the Bible perhaps this dark period of history (1935-1945) could have been avoided.
The cannibal. In third world countries, tribes who live in remote areas can sometimes be cannibalistic or be dangerously hostile to outsiders. Even in our country a serial killer named Jeffery Dahmer cooked and ate some of his victims. Why would people act this way—kill and eat their victims? Simple—they have no understanding of God nor that man is made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). Like Adolf Hitler, they do not understand that life is sacred. People who know the God of the Bible do not kill and eat strangers.
The abortionist. The further America moves away from the concept of God and minds are conditioned by the theory of evolution the more insensitive our citizens become to human life. Take note of the staggering numbers of abortions in America. Over fifty million babies have been killed in abortion clinics across our land since 1973 and the end is not yet in sight. It is a fact that the most dangerous place for Americans to live is not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is the unborn living in the mother’s womb. People who know their Bibles will respect and safe-guard human lives in the womb.
The Ku Klux Klan. If man does not have a correct view of God, the lives of others are in constant danger. Take the Ku Klux Klan for an example. They claim to believe in God and some claim to be Christians. However, their ruthless shootings, bombings, hangings, burnings and drownings of people of color are well documented. At one time they would tar and feather anyone who spoke out against them. They view God as white and couldn’t be any other nationality than a red-neck American from the south. The right understanding of the word of God would put hate groups out of existence because it says that all men are the offspring of God (Acts 17:28).
People who believe that their ancient ancestors were monkeys will usually act accordingly.
Students of the New Testament will behave in a completely different way. Love, compassion, concern, help for the helpless, food for the hungry, assistance for the widow and fatherless, good to all will be seen of them.
How do you view God?
We have heard of names like Johnny Appleseed, Pacos Bill the cowboy who could rope a twister, and John Henry the freed slave who could drive a railroad spike faster than any man alive. These folk heroes have helped mold our society for over 100 years. One of the most famous such tall tails is about a giant lumberjack named Paul Bunyan. The stories differ from place to place but typically it was said that Paul could chop down a tree with a single swing, and that he could cut one down with his swing coming or going! It was nothing for him to cut down one million trees in a day’s work, then he would stomp the stumps down into the ground! What a story! Now, here is a silly question: How would you feel if one of those trees had been you?
John was standing in the Jordan river baptizing people from Jerusalem, all of Judea and the region around the Jordan, as they came confessing their sins (Matt. 3:5-6) when a group of Pharisees and Sadducees came to meet him.
The Pharisees and Sadducees represented a large portion of the Jewish religion. The Pharisees numbered around 6,000 at the time of Christ and most likely took their name from the Hebrew word “Pharesh”, meaning “separated”. They separated themselves from other groups by holding strictly to the traditions of the Law of Moses. They were hypocrites, speaking one thing and practicing another. They were never concerned with doing what was right in the sight of God, only making sure that others did.
The Sadducees were a smaller sect of the Jews. Sadducees did not believe in angles, or in the coming Kingdom, or resurrection. We remember that because they were “sad-u-cee”. The two groups were at odds with each other for the majority of their history, and even at this point in time were not friendly with each other.
Here is a question: Why were they coming to John this day? The obvious answer is that they wanted to discourage him, or even run him off. But take a closer look: John greets them by saying “O ye generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (v. 7). This writer takes that to mean that they had come to the river that day to be baptized! Think about it, they had studied the Old Testament from their youth up, they had read, and re-read, and memorized Isaiah 61:1 which told of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”. They believe the Messiah was going to come, no doubt they believed He would have a forerunner. At this point, they have yet to reject Christ.
The mind of a Pharisee would say “If this the forerunner to Messiah, and he says to be baptized, I am going to be baptized.” The problem is, they missed the point of baptism. John, through either common sense or divine inspiration discerned their motive, hence his calling them “generation of vipers”.
John would of course correct their misunderstanding by telling them to “bring forth fruits unto repentance”. These Jews thought being the seed of Abraham would get them into the Kingdom to come, and into the grace of the Messiah, but John has a message for them.
“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees” (v. 10). John paints a word picture of a woodsman who has marked a tree for removal, and has laid his axe to lean upon the tree while he removes his coat. The image is truly one of a dead tree in an orchard that is ready to be removed, and the axe-man is ready to chop it down.
John is telling these hypocritical Jewish sects that their religion is dead, and they have killed it by their unwillingness to repent! Soon, the Jewish system of religion, and government, and style of life would be destroyed when the axe of God, in this case the Roman army would wipe Jerusalem, as they knew it, off of the map.
Remember our question at the beginning? How would you feel if you were a tree, and you were about to be chopped down? There is a message form Matthew 3 for us, as well as there was for those old Pharisees and Sadducees. Repent of our disbelief, misdeeds, and our half hearted attitude toward God, because the axe is already laid to the root of the trees, and the axe-man is ready.
Click HERE to learn more about our blog writers.