Browsing: Inspiration

LORD AND MESSISAH

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.

WHO DO YOU OBEY?

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.

SING FOR JOY

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 – 5:17:

    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.”

 SING FOR JOY BECAUSE YOU ARE THANKFUL – 5:18:

    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.

 SING FOR JOY BECAUSE WE HAVE THE SPIRIT – 5:19:

    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.”

 SING FOR JOY BECAUSE WE HAVE PROPHETIC UTTERANCES – 5:20:

    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.

 SING FOR JOY BECAUSE WE HAVE THE “GOOD” – 5:21-22:

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.

SING FOR JOY BECAUSE WE HAVE SANCTIFICATION IN CHRIST – 5:23:

    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 FOR JOY BECAUSE GOD IS FAITHFUL – 5:24:

    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.

GOD’S IMMUTABILITY

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!

WHAT SHALL I BE?

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:

I WILL BE A PERSON OF PRAYER & THANKSGIVING – 4:2:

    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.

 

I WILL BE EVANGELISTIC – 4:3-4:

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.

 

I WILL BE WISE TOWARD OUTSIDERS – 4:5:

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 WILL CONTROL MY TONGUE – 4:6:

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.

LIVING TO DIE

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).

 JESUS CAME TO GLORIFY HIS FATHER:

    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.

 GLORIFYING THE FATHER INVOLVES SELF-SACRIFICE:

    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…

 SELF-SACRIFICE MEANS DYING TO SELF:

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.

SURVIVING THE FLOOD

December 15th, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland

Genesis 6-8

     The story of Noah’s ark is very popular with kids. But, as you would guess, there is a deeper significance to building the ark than just to entertain and “wow” children. Noah building the ark is a study of the grace of God!

 GRACE RECEIVED – Genesis 6:

    The account of Noah begins (vs 1-2) with an emphasis on how wicked the world was (vs 5-7). Count how many times Moses emphasizes Man’s wickedness in verses 5-7 and 11-13.

     But, the text says, “Noah found favor [grace] in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah found grace in the eyes of God. Why? Simply saying that Noah found grace tells us two things: 1.) Noah did not deserve what God was about to do for him. That means that Noah was not sinless. Noah was not perfect. But: 2.) It shows us that Noah did respond to God’s instructions in some way with some degree of faith.

     We see this in verse 9: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” Noah knew there were certain expectations from God about how he was supposed to live and Noah did those things to the best of his ability.

     Notice how Noah responds to God’s grace – “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” Noah obeyed the grace of God. If we understand 6:3 correctly, Noah had 120 years to build the ark and during that time, 2 Peter 2:5 tells us, Noah also preached to his generation to repent and respond to God in order to avoid the coming destruction. So, God’s gracepreserves Noah

GRACE PRESERVES – Genesis 7:

    Once Noah and his family and all the animals were on the ark, God shut the door. God’s Spirit will not always be patient with man. When God decides, in His infinite wisdom, to bring His justice, then the time to respond to God’s grace is over. Noah, his family, and those animals were on the inside of that door. They were going to be preserved from the destructive waters of the flood.

     Because Noah obeyed the grace of God, then God preserved Noah (7:21-23). They had responded to the grace of God with obedience, so God’s grace preserved them. But, God’s grace did not end once they were on the ark. God’s grace extended beyond the ark…

GRACE EXTENDED – Genesis 8:

    Noah and his family spent almost an entire year on that ark! God preserved him on the ark. Because of Noah’s faithful, obedient response, God extends grace to Noah.

     Notice in 8:20 that the first thing Noah does when he gets off the ark is to build an altar and worship God! Yet again, the response to grace is obedience; it is worship. That’s what Noah does and because he responds to God, God extends His grace yet again (8:20-9:3).

     God extends His grace to Noah by: 1.) Promising to never again curse the ground for the sake of man; 2.) He will never destroy every living creature again; 3.) The climate will largely stay consistent; 4.) Noah and his children can once again have children and grandchildren; 5.) All living creatures may be eaten as food.

     How wonderful is the grace of God! God extends His grace to us. We must obey that grace.

PLAYING WITH FIRE

November 21st, 2014 | By admin

by Katt Anderson

Through the years I’ve seen a lot of teens playing with fire. Not the real flames, but a fire that can ruin their lives forever. We’ve talked in the past about things that can happen in your life that makes an impact on your future. I know older ladies read this blog, and I’m so thankful for your willingness to listen to what we have to say. What I am about to write can also pertain to the older ladies.

Recently, I was shocked to learn of online dating at the college level. We’ve all heard the success stories that are told on television about couples that found each other via dating services online. What we don’t hear is the horror stories of those who have terrible experiences. I don’t know the ratio between those who are sincere and those who want to take advantage of an innocent person, but I’m sure it’s much higher than we can imagine. College girls fall in that innocent category. Even on so-called “Christian” dating services there are some people who are not Christians and are willing to take advantage of someone.

It’s so easy to write on the internet. You can lie and embellish the truth to make people think you’re something you’re not. So many young ladies are gullible and believe because they say they’re a Christian that they are. No so. There are a lot of men who try to trick a young woman into thinking the opposite of what they are. Ephesians 4:14 tell us, “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men,in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive.”

Trickery is as old as time itself. Eve was tricked by the serpent, Joshua was tricked by the Gibeonites, but we should be able to learn when someone is making something sound too good to be true. No one is immune to someone trying to make them believe something that isn’t true.

I’m very fearful for young ladies in the world today. I’m also fearful for older ladies in the world today. What I want to say is to be careful who you put your trust in. Make sure they are who they say they are. Be cautious who you trust.

CREATED FOR PRAISE

November 17th, 2014 | By admin

by Paul Holland

Luke 17:11-19

    One distinction between Christians and non-Christians is understanding the need to be thankful, even in the middle of suffering (1 Peter 1:7-8; Hebrews 12:11). Paul said that the departure from the faith happens because of a lack of thankfulness (2 Timothy 3:1-2).

    Let’s study the nine unthankful lepers from Luke 17:11-19 in order to learn from their example – let’s be like the lone thankfulleper.

WE ALL NEED HELP – 17:11-12:

    These men “stood at a distance” because they were lepers. One was “unclean” from the point of view of race (Samaritan) as well as unclean from the point of view of health (they were lepers).

    All of us have problems. We are concerned about many things that we cannot do anything about. Nobody lives life without problems. That’s why we need help.

WE SERVE A MASTER FULL OF MERCY – 17:13-14:

    The lepers recognize in Jesus the attribute of being a teacher and that He has the ability to heal them. So, they cry out or pray for mercy from Jesus. “Mercy” is found 119 times in the NASV. Mercy “describes the emotional response and resulting action after encountering the suffering or affliction of another” (Mounce, 447). So the lepers cry out for the “kindness” of Jesus to heal them.

    God causes the sun to shine on the evil and on the good and sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Why? Because He is a God of mercy.

GOD DESERVES PRAISE – 17:15-18:

    One of the ten healed returns. One. One glorified God with a loud voice. One. The majority of the time, the majority are in error. One. Jesus healed all of them but not all were thankful.

The ten were blessed. The ten were healed. The ten experienced the goodness and kindness of God. The ten tasted the heavenly gift. The ten tasted the good word of God and the power of the age to come. But one returned. One glorified God. One gave thanks to Jesus.

But not only that but giving thanks to God leads us to give thanks to others around us. If I am thankful to God for my wife, I will tell God. Then, I will tell my wife. When we show/express thankfulness, it communicates that we value that other person. One of the most important needs that we have as human beings is the need to feel valued, the need to feel appreciated. For over twenty five years, Dr. Nick Stinnett at the University of Alabama has studied what makes marriages strong and one of the six major qualities that make families strong is the quality of appreciation.

THANKSGIVING BRINGS FURTHER REWARD – 17:19:

    Jesus told the Samaritan – “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” It seems here that Jesus passes from the physical blessing to the spiritual blessing (just as He did before in Mark 5).

    Being thankful brings further rewards. With God, it brings further blessings. With our spouse, it will strengthen our relationship with the other and motivate him/her to do more. With our employer, it may bring added honor, responsibilities, even promotions. With our employees, it lights a fire under them to work more and harder – to go the extra mile.

    Take home message: In everything, to everyone – give thanks.

IT’S JUST A GAME

November 14th, 2014 | By admin

by Timothy Hall

Harry Potter fans will remember a scene from the first installment of that movie series in which a game of chess – Wizard’s Chess, to be exact – becomes more than just a game. Harry and his friends are lucky to make it through the “game” alive.

By definition, a game is something we play for enjoyment and (usually) relaxation. An evening with no plans often leads to a pleasant time with Monopoly, Rook, or working a jigsaw puzzle. One of my favorites in my younger years was Battleship.

Battleship became a battle recently for a 68-year-old Utah man and his 18-year- old daughter. After accusing her of cheating, she got up to leave, prompting the man to grab her by her hair and point a rifle at her. Needless to say, the man is now in custody after being charged with suspicion of intoxication and aggravated assault.

Someone has observed that Americans generally play at their work and work at their play. From my observations, our society does indeed take games seriously. Stories of fans flying into a rage following the loss of a game, or brawls between fans or players following a hard-fought contest are becoming more common.

Is it a competitive nature that leads to such game-time strife, or is it something more serious? James’ words may help us diagnose the problem: “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:14,15). The traits of envy and self-seeking are clearly present in many of the confrontations we read about. This passage shows how wrong this frame of mind is.

James continued: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17,18). How much better to play games with people like this!

Those who have trouble remembering that “it’s just a game” may react to this message angrily. They would do well to consider something James wrote earlier in his letter: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19,20). Ironic, isn’t it, how a quick-tempered person gets mad when someone suggests they might have a problem controlling their temper?

You and I have much more leisure time than our grandparents had. Games are likely going to be a part of our lives. Let’s approach our diversions the way we should approach every other aspect of our lives: with God’s wisdom guiding us.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Copyright, 2013, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.

Visit my web site — http://joycaster.com/

 

Timothy Hall, Minister
Central Church of Christ


© 2011 For Christian Girls · Web Design by Rog Designs, LLC