Browsing: Inspiration


June 29th, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland 

    The text reads: “Yield now and be at peace with Him; Thereby good will come to you” (NASV). The ESV reads: “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.” The NIV has: “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” And the NKJV reads: “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you.”

    Yield. Agree with. Submit to. Acquaint yourself with. The verb (skn) means “to be of use.” If you will look back up at verse 2, Eliphaz says, “Can a vigorous man be of use to God, or a wise man be useful to himself?” Both those words – “of use” and “useful” are the same word as this verb.

    So, the idea is to be of use to God but the meaning of the verb carries the idea of being acquainted with God intimately or personally so that you know how or what you can do to be of use to God.

    Thus, our purpose here is to discuss what it means to “know God” personally as Eliphaz here challenges Job.


    Getting to know God personally involves changing our character. If we know God personally, then that knowledge will form our character and our personality to be like Christ (Rom. 12:2).

    We also change our environment when we know God personally. By that, I mean that we will obey Christ which will move us out of the kingdom of Satan and into the kingdom of God’s Son (Colossians 1:13). This process of changing our environment once we know God personally means that we are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).


    We can know God. We can know God personally. Jesus tells us it is possible to know God by having a relationship with Jesus, John 14:1-9. Jesus says in John 8:19: “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

    John further states in 1 John 2:3 that we know that we know if if we keep His commandments.

    To know God personally is our highest and greatest privilege as well as responsibility. Take a look at Philippians 3:8-11.


    When we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then we have peace with God – Romans 5:1. Paul says later in Romans 8:1 that we are no longer under the condemnation brought about by the law of sin and death.

    This relationship with Christ is not just removing a badrelationship between us and God. It is also creating a new relationship. We have moved from being enemies of God to being friends with God.


Looking back at our text, Eliphaz tells that if Job will “yield now and be at peace with God; then good will come to him.”

    Job was also blessed by God with ten children and twice as many livestock, and to live 140 years and see his great-great grandchildren born. He died, an old man and “full of days,” a reference that usually means living a full and happy life (Job 42:12-15).

    The “good” that comes in our day, because of our spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, is richer, fuller, and deeper (Phil. 4:13, 19; Romans 8:28).

    Know God personally. Peace and good will result.


June 22nd, 2015 | By admin

 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
1 Peter 3:4, NASB
“I need a new wardrobe.” “I wish I had her body.” “I guess I’ll never look good enough.”

Ever had a thought like that? We may not be in the habit of saying these shallow things out loud, but all of us have thought them. We find ourselves filled with anxiety over our appearance—to the extent that we quickly slip into compare-and-criticize mode. It’s a common feeling among women, and it is obviously contrary to what the Bible says.Our beauty should come from within us, not outside us. The Bible tells us that beauty is found in having a gentle and quiet spirit. Loveliness grows out of living a life centered on God and the contentment found in his love. Outward beauty will fade. But a gentle and quiet spirit is unfading beauty. True beauty really does come from within.

We women have such beautiful potential in Christ—he has created us to bless the world in ways that men cannot. But sometimes we reject this potential without even realizing it, by simply choosing to focus on the temporary, fleeting, and false sense of beauty.

How do we develop a gentle and quiet spirit? Sometimes it’s in the little things—looking in the mirror less often, for instance. When I am tempted to stare at myself and criticize, I choose to stop and praise God for blessing me with a working body—a body that can be used to further God’s kingdom. It may be posting verses about true beauty in your bathroom. Most importantly, it’s finding time to just sit and rest with God. Set aside the world’s and your own expectations and allow him to work in your life. Let him develop in you the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”


June 17th, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland

Matthew 22:1-14

    If you could have dinner with any one in the world, who would it be? If you could sit in the presence and talk with any person, who would you choose? What if you were to get an invitation from that person, how would you react? What would you wear? We would all probably dress up. Maybe not formal wear – that would probably be one of our first questions, wouldn’t it? What should I wear?

     A parable Jesus gives in Matthew 22 deals with what you should wear when you enter the presence of the king.


    The wedding feast was an image the prophets used for the blessings of the new covenant. The kingdom is not like a long, dreary funeral procession. It is a festive occasion of warm fellowship and inexplicable delight (Romans 14:17).


    The servants were invited to call those who had already been invited. In the Orient, it was customary to send out an initial invitation to alert people that a banquet was going to take place. Then the second invitation would go out once all the preparations were finalized.

     But observe the key to their refusal in verse 3 – they were unwilling to come. They really had no reason not to come. It was a matter of their will. They found excuses.

     These people in the parable offered excuses not to come to the wedding feast. There was one reason why they did not come – they loved other things too much. They had refused a very generous host (look at verse 4). They had rejected grace. Notice verse 5 – “they paid no attention.” In other words, they didn’t care!

     When you turn your back on grace, hell is the only alternative.


    In verse 8, the king says matter-of-factly that “those who were invited were not worthy.” I want you to observe that what makes a person worthy to be in the presence of the king is simply his/her response to the king’s gracious invitation!

     Compare this with Luke’s comment about the Pharisees in Luke 7:29-30.

So, the servants went to the “partings of the highways.” These people would not expect to find themselves as guests at a royal banquet. They would be even less likely to refuse such an invitation.


    The man was speechless. How could he give an excuse? He stood self-condemned. The banquet was an act of grace. The invitation was an act of grace. The wedding garment may have been an act of grace. And he spurned it. 

     When the world stands before God and are saved or condemned, we will also be speechless. We will know why were we are saved or condemned.

     The wedding garment represents right living (Isa. 61:10; Rev. 19:8), which is only possible if we live in Jesus Christ, which begins with being immersed into Him in the waters of baptism (Galatians 3:26-27).

 CONCLUSION – 22:14:

    The parable teaches us that the ones “chosen” are the ones who responded to the gracious invitation of the King.

     Christ has called you to enjoy the marriage banquet with Him. Respond to His grace by being obedient to His call.


June 15th, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland 

    A few years ago, I conducted a Gospel meeting in Owingsville, KY. One of their song leaders is a black brother, a deputy sheriff. During one of the fellowship meals, I sat with him and his wife and visited. I asked him what were some misconceptions that the general public had about police work. One of the things he told me was that people do not understand that when a police officer is called and/or arrives on the scene, they have the authority. It might be your property, but a police officer has the authority while he is present.

     I am reminded of that conversation when we see scenes in the news about police officers arresting people. The scenes that make the news seem to be the ones where white officers are arresting black teens. The most recent scene is from Texas where a white police officer is arresting a black teenage girl at a pool party that was reported to be in chaos.

The investigation is on-going as I write this. Maybe the officer did not follow proper protocol, maybe he did. But one thing that appears to me from the video I’ve seen is that the teenager in question (as well as the other people scene in these cases) are not submitting to the authority of the police officer(s) on the scene.

     I suspect that, in accordance with the general population, too many teens are not taught to respect proper authority. Your parents may be like my parents were. If I got in trouble at school, I would get in trouble at home. Respect authority. Our family recently watched the new movie McFarland, USA (an excellent movie, by the way). In one scene, the mom is sending her sons off to school from picking in the fields early in the morning. Speaking in Spanish, subtitled in English, she says, “Respect your teachers!” Probably one of the major factors in that cross-country program being successful is because most of those boys were taught to respect their coach.

     Respect for authority is one fundamental lesson we, as parents, must teach our children. “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1). Kids begin learning respect for authority when they are babies, from mom and dad. They need to learn to respect other kids’ toys as they respect the authority of the toys’ owner.

     We taught our girls, as our parents taught us, to respect their teachers and principal at school.  We also taught them to pray for their teachers, their principal, as well as their school bus driver.

     The principle of authority is a God-given, God-appointed, God-ordained principle. They exist in their respective domains (school, community, state, nation) “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).

     Respect those who are in authority.


May 18th, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland

Acts 2:14, 36-41

     Imagine that you are a Jew living in the first century. You are a faithful Jew so you attend the synagogue services every Sabbath. You are aware of the preaching of John and the work of Jesus. You might not be a follower of Jesus, but you are certainly open to His teachings. You are among those who are not quite sure what you make of Him. The empty tomb has certainly piqued your curiosity!

     But then, you are present on the day of Pentecost. Imagine that you were in Jerusalem on that day and you heard all the noise that happened when people heard that these followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit of God. So, just like, literally, thousands of other Jews, you run to the temple and see these men preaching. You can hear different languages being spoken and you move over to hear Peter as he is speaking your language, Aramaic.

     First, Peter gets everyone’s attention (Acts 2:14). After he clears up a misunderstanding about all the noise, Peter starts talking about Jesus (verse 22). Ah! These men are being guided by the Holy Spirit of God, just like the old prophets from your Jewish history had been, and they are going to explain what all this means! You are ecstatic!

     According to Peter’s sermon, Jesus was a man “attested by God.” Peter tells you how Jesus was “attested” by God:

     1. First, through the miracles He did (vs 22).

    2. Through His resurrection (vs 24).

    3. Through the fulfillment of prophecy (vss 25-29).

    4. Through the virgin birth (vs 30).

    5. Through His exaltation to heaven (vs 33).

     Then, you get really excited as Peter gets to the conclusion of his sermon: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (vs 36). Wow! Lord and Christ! He is the promised Messiah from the Old Testament and He is God! This resurrection is something! It is the most remarkable event in all of Jewish history. In fact, it has got to be the most significant event in all of human history!

     Now, while you are standing there in the audience, someone yells out to Peter: “Brothers, what should we do?” You can hear the pain in his voice. He means, “What can we do to be forgiven of our behavior toward Jesus?” That is probably the most important question you can ask about the most important event in human history! What can man do?

     So, you listen intently to Peter’s response: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

     Just like John, Peter said this immersion is “for the forgiveness of sins.” That elevates the role of thisimmersion. In fact, Peter goes on to promise that if you do repent and are immersed for the forgiveness of sins, you actually receive the Holy Spirit. You recognize this as a promise given by the great prophet Ezekiel in 36:26-27.

     Multitudes, multitudes respond to Peter’s call to be immersed for the forgiveness of sins. The final count will be about 3,000 people. Still, you have a few questions about this immersion in water, so when the day is over and you are able to pull Peter aside, you ask him just what immersion has to do with Jesus and the forgiveness of sins.

     Because Peter was guided by the same Spirit who later guided the apostle Paul, we know that Peter’s response would have been similar to what Paul will later write in Romans 6:3-5.

     With that fuller explanation, you and your wife agree to be immersed into Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. You are so excited to have this full and complete sacrifice for sins in the man, Jesus Christ. You have a lot to learn about Christianity but having the forgiveness of sins and not being obligated to keep offering animal sacrifices is a tremendous blessing from the God of heaven.

     “What a wonderful God you serve,” you say to yourself as you go to bed that night. Excited. Tired. But forgiven.

     Be immersed for the forgiveness of your sins, to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


May 15th, 2015 | By admin

By Katt Anderson

Recently the President of the United States made a statement that is so contrary to the Bible. Mr. Obama said Christians should stop talking about abortion. Who does he think he is? Can a mere man tell me what to do when the Bible says differently? Apparently, Mr. Obama has never read the Bible, believed the Bible and knows nothing about the Bible. This is sad when he thinks he can tell us what to do and divert from God’s Word. I don’t think so, Mr. President.

A newly conceived baby has a soul. We’re not talking about a mass of tissue, but a human being. A baby. A real person. David knew that in Psalm 139:13-16. “You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am, fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows well, My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, And in Your book they all were written. The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” David is telling us God knows the baby before it is born. The child’s name is written in the Book. It has a soul before birth.

When you abort a baby, you murder a human being. We hear more advertisements on television about cruelty to animals than we do about abortion. How sad when this nation and the world thinks more about animals than they do a human life. Abortion is not birth control, it is murder.

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. We all probably learned them as a child. There are ten things that mostly start with, “Thou shalt not.” In Exodus 20:13 it reads, “Thou shalt not commit murder.” In the New Testament, we see murder called a sin. Look at Galatians 5:19-21. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, of which I tell you before hand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Are you going to obey God or the President of the United States? I stand with God! Christianity is dwindling and fewer people today read or study their Bible. God laid out the plan and our founding fathers went by God’s plan, even to establish the United States. Let’s go back to God and do what He says, not what a mere mortal man says.


May 13th, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

     Most of the time, when preachers preach on singing, we deal with instrumental music; we deal with Ephesians 5:19 or Colossians 3:16. There is a time for that. But, I want us to consider the last few verses of 1 Thessalonians 5 in the context of why we ought to sing, indeed, why we ought to sing for joy!

     There is no reference to singing in worship in 1 Thessalonians. But in 5:16, Paul tells the Christians to “rejoice always.” What more powerful form of rejoicing is there than to sing? So, I suggest that we examine verses 16-24 in the context of “rejoicing/singing” for joy for the number of blessings Paul lays before us in this paragraph.


    Sing for joy because you can pray! Jesus said in Matthew 6:7-8 that we should not pray like the unbelievers do because they think they have to use meaningless repetitions to get their gods’ attention. But, He said, we have a Father in heaven who “knows what we need before we ask Him.”


    God demands that we give thanks to Him. If we were not thankful to God, we would easily forget that we have everything from Him and we would quickly stop worshipping Him. So, being thankful to God is His will for us in Christ Jesus.


    In this context, I suggest that this statement is referring to Christians who had the miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit – that is, they could perform miracles. But, there were also false teachers who were deceiving Christians (2 Thes. 2:9) with false miracles, so honest Christians may have been holding back their own abilities given them by the Holy Spirit.

    In our non-miraculous age today, we simply say, “Don’t quench the gifts, the abilities, the talents that God has given you.”


    The fundamental definition of “prophet” is not to tell the future. A prophet was simply a preacher but who received his message directly from heaven rather than through pouring over books, doing word studies, and running down lists in concordances! Therefore, “prophecies” were, fundamentally, messages from God.

    We do not need to despise the messages from God. If the message preached steps on our toes, we need to move our toes.


These two verses we’ll put together, although they actually go with verse 20.

    Test everything. What does the world say about being good? Test it against what the Bible says about being good. What does the world say about being a good father / mother? Test it against what the Bible says about being a good parent. What does the world say about being a good child or citizen? Test it against what the Bible says about being a good child or citizen.


    We have sanctification in Christ and, observe the text, God will keep our “whole spirit, soul, and body blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” As we read in 1 John, we need to walk in the light but if we are staying faithful to God, God will also cleanse us from our sins and keep us holy, sanctified, and blameless when Jesus comes again.


    Sing because God is faithful. He has promised that He’ll answer our prayers. God is faithful. God has promised that if we are faithful and thankful for the small blessings, He’ll bless us with greater blessings. God is faithful.

    God has promised that He’ll equip us for everything good work He calls us to do. He is faithful. God has given us His message that will lead us through this life and into the next life. He is faithful. God has promised to give us all good things in Jesus Christ. He is faithful. Finally, ultimately, we can stand before God holy and blameless. God is faithful.

     Sing for joy! Sing heartily as to the Lord, not to men.


May 11th, 2015 | By admin

By Paul Holland 

    In 1776, Augustus Toplady wrote a song which we still sing today: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure.”

     Our Lord is the Rock of Ages, based on such passages as Deuteronomy 32:3-4: “For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”

The idea that God is a rock is the idea that God does not change. He is not susceptible to the same whims and passions that afflict the human race. Indeed, God isimmutable.

The word “immutable” means “unchanging over time or unable to be changed.” In describing God as “immutable,” we mean to say that God does not change His nature.

One of the most obvious verses on the immutability of God is Malachi 3:6: “For I the Lord do not change.” Other verses show the same: Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 102:26-27; 103:17; Isaiah 28:17; Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17.

There are, therefore, things that God cannot do. He cannot do something that is outside or beyond or againstHis nature. He cannot lie. He cannot do anything immoral. He cannot make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it. He cannot deceive. He cannot do something that is illogicalor irrational.

Because God’s nature does not change, we have examples where God is good to non-Israelites because of their response to Him:  Abimelech in Genesis 20; Balaam in Numbers 22-24; King Cyrus in Isaiah 45; Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4; Nineveh in Jonah. Consider Jeremiah 18:8: “if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.”

    In other passages we see that God punishes the disobedience in His own people and we see the immutable nature of God: Moses in Numbers 20, David in 2 Samuel 12, Israel itself, Peter in Matthew 16:23; Ananias and Sapphira.

    Because God does not change, we can trust His word – Numbers 23:19. We can trust His promises completely – Romans 4:21. We know God will be faithful to Himself - 2 Timothy 2:13. His nature is an anchor for our soul – Hebrews 6:17-18. His nature is the foundation for our Christian service – 1 Corinthians 15:58.

    You can trust the Rock of Ages because He does not change!


March 23rd, 2015 | By admin

What Shall I Be?

Colossians 4:2-6

    The theme verses for Colossians are 2:6-7. Paul writes, there, that we have been taught in Christ and we need to walk in Him. Therefore, we are to live a different life. Knowing that, then, What Shall I Be?

    If I have learned Christ and I am baptized into Him and I am seeking the things that are above (3:1-2), here are a few more behaviors I will do:


    There are only two commands, two imperatives in our passage: “Continue” (NKJV) and “Walk” (vs 5). These two commands, then, govern the subsequent thoughts and verses.

    So, verse 2: “In prayer” (put first in the original language for emphasis), devote yourselves. This verb means “to persist obstinately in…, to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of [praying, p.h.] despite difficulty.”

    We need to be people of prayer. And in all of your praying, Paul says, be sure you do not forget: “being vigilant” (a participle, showing that it occurs at the same time as the main verb) in your prayers with thanksgiving.



Verse 3 begins with a participle (not translated as a participle in some translations), which shows that it is part of the previous sentence. Paul’s sentence is: “Continue earnestly in prayer …praying also for us.”


But the point here is that Paul wants the Christians in Colossae to pray that God “would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest as I ought to speak.”


You and I need to be evangelistic.



Connected with that point is verse 5. Again, in the original “in wisdom” is first in the sentence showing that Paul’s emphasis is on that point. “In wisdom” walk toward those who are outside. Here, he is referring to those who are “outside” the church, towards non-Christians.


One way we do that, Paul says, is to “redeem the time.” That is, “make the most of our opportunities.” If we see an opening to direct a conversation to the Bible or to Christ, to spiritual matters, take that opportunity.


You and I need to “think souls.” We need to be wise toward outsiders.



I mentioned that the verb that begins verse 5, “walk,” also governs verse 6. There is no finite verb in verse 6 so “Walk” governs this verb as well. So, Paul is saying in verse 6, “In wisdom, walk… your words always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”


First, your words should be with grace. Grace is “unmerited favor.” That means if someone does notdeserve a kind, gentle answer, give them one anyway.

    Second, let your words be seasoned with salt. Salt has the impact on food that makes it easier to eat; it gives it flavor. So, in your words with others, especially non-Christians, make your words easy to hear.

    Be prayerful & thankful; be evangelistic and be wise toward non-Christians; control your tongue.


February 16th, 2015 | By admin

by Paul Holland

John 12:23-33

     “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:24-26).


    The context of this statement is Jesus moving toward the cross. Non-Jews have stepped into the picture (verses 20-22) and asked if they could see Jesus.

     The brief sermon – we might call it a devotional – in verses 23-28 – are a call to Christ’s followers to deny themselves and follow Him, just as He is about to deny Himself in His effort to follow the Father.

    Observe verse 23 – ““The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Jesus, in fact, came to earth to bring glory and honor to His Father in Heaven. And He did that by serving Him.

     We are to glorify the Father and we do that by bearing fruit. Observe verse 24 where Jesus uses an illustration of the wheat. If the grain falls to the earth and dies, it is able to produce more wheat.

     The Swartz Creek church of Christ exists to glorify Jesus Christ by serving Him as He directs us.


    This idea of glorifying the Father involved self-sacrifice on the part of Jesus. Notice in verse 27: “Now is my soul troubled.” No doubt Jesus meditated on the sacrifice He was about to endure. Would Jesus ask the Father to keep Him from sacrificing Himself? No. Not if that’s what serving the Father involved. Jesus goes on to say: “But for this purpose I have come to this hour.”

     Now that He was at the cross, is He going to somehow stop the whole forward momentum of God’s eternal plan just because His soul was troubled? Certainly not. That’s when you learn if you are really in the business of serving God.

     We glorify God by sacrificing ourselves on the altar of service to Him. Notice verse 25: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” This leads us to the last point…


Jesus interprets the message from the Father to the audience (vs 30). The coming crucifixion was not going to be judgment on the Son, Jesus Christ, for His sins. The subsequent resurrection would be a glorification of the Son for His willingness to die for our sins!

We must die to self if we are to glorify Jesus Christ. This self-sacrifice carries with it a more intense picture ofdying to self. The picture of the grain of wheat in verse 24 suggests dying to self. The idea of losing our life in verse 25 suggests dying to self. The ideas of serving Christ and following Him in verse 26 suggests the idea of dying to self.

     We will bear fruit and the Swartz Creek church of Christ will continue to grow, to touch the lives of other people through our works and ministries, and lead the lost to Christ, to understand and obey the Gospel, if we will sacrifice ourselves on the altar of service to God.

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