Thursday, June 25, 2009

When God says no

Can you accept God's will when His answer is no? If you pray according to God's will, He will answer your prayer (1 John 5:14). However, sometimes His answer will be no.

King Herod arrested Peter and prepared to have him executed. During the night, as the church prayed (Acts 12:6), Peter’s life was spared when an angel freed him (Acts 12:7-9). God miraculously answered the prayers of Christians that night. Yet not long before, James, too, had been arrested by Herod. James, however, was executed (Acts 12:2). Surely the church had prayed for James as fervently as they did for Peter, yet that time God’s answer had been no.

Did God love Peter more than James? Of course not. James had been one of Jesus' closest friends. Yet God allowed James to die while He continued to use Peter. The church in Jerusalem did not become bitter toward God. They accepted His answer because they trusted His wisdom and purpose.

There are times when God wants us to persist in our praying (Luke 11:5-8; 18:1-6). However, when God's answer is no, it is vanity to continue asking for a "yes" answer. Some refuse to take no for an answer, insisting that if you pray long enough and hard enough, God will ultimately grant any request you make. It is offensive to God to continue pleading with Him when He has clearly said no. The purpose of prayer is not to conform God to our will but to change our will to God. We must learn to trust God so that if He says no, we accept that His will is best (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9).

Adapted from Henry Blackaby

Monday, June 22, 2009

How do we measure up?

It's very common for man to compare something in physical or carnal ways. For instance, people tend to consider that they are a part of a great church as long as they have a nice, new building, several academic degrees for their "pastor/preacher," large numbers, and a good community image.

We are in a spiritual struggle (Ephesians 6:12), but more and more, congregations are trying to fight a war with the weapons of the enemy. They shamelessly rely on the arm of the flesh instead of the arm of God. This creates loss of conviction, a spirit of compromise, and a desire to be like others!

Jesus said, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!" (Luke 6:26). Sometimes standing for truth means standing virtually alone. However, you always know that God will be with you (2 Timothy 4:16-17). So stand strong and stand on the Bible, rejecting men's standards of success (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Kyle Campbell

Monday, June 15, 2009

No compromises!

The Bible is strictly a "black and white" book. Compromise sometimes is good, but not when it comes to biblical revelation. Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters …" (Matthew 6:24), and "He that is not with me is against me …" (Matthew 12:30). When we serve the Master, we had better serve Him with our all.

In the judgment, there are only two places the soul can go. In Matthew 25:31-46, only two groups stand before the King: those on His left hand who are destined for "everlasting punishment," or those on His right hand who are destined for "everlasting life." Where will you be when the book of life is opened? Will you have the bliss of heaven (Revelation 21:1-7), or the horror of hell (Revelation 21:8)? What a terrible price to pay for compromise!

Kyle Campbell

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Should we serve you better?

It's kind of interesting to look at the "takes" that some people have regarding the work of the church. Some see that the church fundamentally takes care of the "outer man" much like a Lion's Club or a Kiwanis Club. In a sense, the church does serve people ("through love serve one another," Galatians 5:13), but that is not its ultimate aim.

The church's ultimate aim is to save and feed the "inner man." The "outer man" perishes but the "inner man" is "renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16). The church is a "spiritual house" which offers up "spiritual sacrifices" (1 Peter 2:5). The process through which Christians are built up is called edification (Romans 15:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Good intentions cannot overcome the absence of Bible authority. Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him." I wish the religious world would realize that they will be held responsible for changing the church into what they want. God's pattern for the church cannot be altered (Hebrews 8:5), so you'd better be sure you're ready for the consequences from God!

Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How bad is hell?

If you didn't get up in the morning, how do you think you would feel? The rich man (Luke 16:23) was able to "lift up his eyes" in "torments," so we know there is consciousness after death. Would you go to heaven? Thinking about heaven is great, but it is also beneficial to talk about hell every so often.

In my mind, a lot of times I think about going to heaven, not because heaven is so wonderful, but because I don't want to go to hell. Fear is a strong motivating factor.

So how bad is hell? Jude 6 refers to it as "everlasting chains." Second Peter 2:4 calls it "chains of darkness." How do you fell about being in an utterly dark place? It's pretty terrifying isn't it? The "torment" mentioned above means "mental agony; anguish." Revelation 19:20 and 20:10 calls hell a place of "fire and brimstone." Mark 9:44, 48 adds that the "fire is not quenched." Burning alive is the most horrifying way to die, and this is the way the Bible describes the anguish of hell! Finally, Matthew 13:50 describes hell as a "furnace of fire" where there is "wailing and gnashing of teeth."

I don't want to go to hell, and I don't want you to go either! You need to come to Christ and obey His gospel. Contact us if you would like to study further.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, June 1, 2009

Archaeology: Hazor

Archaeology has found evidence of the fiery destruction of Hazor, the major city of the north during the conquest of Canaan, possibly by the forces of Joshua (Joshua 11:10-11). The rebuilding and fortification by Solomon parallels what he did at Megiddo and Hazor. The distinctive gates were found to be nearly identical to gates of these cities.

Finding that Hazor was about 200 acres, far larger than a normal city of that day, provides reason for the Bible calling it "the head." The city's king, Jabin, rallied the kingdoms in the north against the Israelites (Joshua 11:1-3). Yet the forces of Joshua prevailed.

Kyle Campbell