Friday, April 27, 2012

Moral cowardice

Although Jesus had worked many miracles in John 12, which was just before the passover where He died, many people still did not believe in Him. But surprisingly, John 12:42 says, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue …” The next verse gives the reason: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
Cowardice means “a lack of bravery.” When people won’t stand up for Christ, they may think of it as not a big deal. The apostle John, however, says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). This lack of courage will be judged in the most severe way, so it is time for God’s children to be strong. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). Paul was told, “… Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). The next time you can make a difference because of proclaiming the gospel, don’t hesitate or falter. Christ was not ashamed to be nailed to a cross; will you be ashamed to stand for Him?
Kyle Campbell

Monday, April 23, 2012

Light and darkness

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19).
Speaking physically, the above statement would be backwards. Most people like the light; darkness, especially true darkness, makes people very uncomfortable. But Jesus, speaking about deeds that reflect someone’s spiritual condition, said that men love darkness rather than the light. This is borne out in the fact that if someone commits a crime, they will do so in the dark; it gives them a place to hide.
Jesus came as the light of men (John 1:4; 8:12). He came to illuminate the only way to salvation (John 14:6). However, the gospels record one episode after another where the people rejected Him (cf. John 6:66; 12:42). Fundamentally, people don’t want to be told they’re in sin; if they’re in the darkness, they don’t want to come to the light. Listen to the admonition of the Lord: “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:2-5). Come out of the darkness of sin, and into the glorious light of Christ. You can do this through repentance (Acts 3:19), confession of Christ (Romans 10:10), and burial with Christ in baptism (Colossians 2:12).
Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A grave on the ocean floor

A recent news story has just been posted about possible human remains from the sunken Titanic, found on the ocean floor. Pictures taken from recent NOAA expeditions two and a half miles below the surface are starting to show signs of proof that a human body had rested on the ocean floor 100 years ago. Although there is no positive proof because the actual body has been completely decomposed, pictures of a pair of boots and other items seem to indicate that there had been a body there at one time.

This is one example of many to show us just how frail our physical bodies are. After 100 years, a pair of boots and other items still exist. Yet, the human body has done exactly what God said it would do -- return to the dust (Genesis 3:19), or in this case the slimy mud that makes up the ocean floor.

God simply did not make our physical bodies for existing over a long period of time. On the other hand, there is a part of us that will never decay -- our spirit. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Because our spirit is the only thing that will outlast this life, we need to give our utmost attention to make sure it is renewed day by day and is on the right path to Heaven. We can do this by spending time in prayer, in meditation on God’s word, on good thoughts about how we can help others, etc. The list goes on and on. Since your eternal spirit, unlike your physical body, cannot be destroyed, do your best to make sure that it ends up in Heaven at the end of this life. Otherwise you will have to suffer an eternal death in Hell, being tormented without decay forever and ever (Mark 9:43-46).

Jonathan Glaesemann

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Art of War

The Art of War, written by the Chinese tactician Sun Tzu, is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy in the world. Much of the text is about how to fight wars without actually having to do battle: it gives tips on how to outsmart one's opponent so that physical battle is not necessary.
A major principle is to know yourself and know your enemy. That way, you won’t fear the enemy or the outcome of the battle. All of us should realize that Satan schemes after us: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). We furthermore know that he is an “accuser of brethren” (Revelation 12:10), and that he seeks people to tempt: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Conversely, the Bible can help. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Of course, it can only help if you follow the word of God accurately: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:14-18).
Kyle Campbell

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In between Sundays

It is a fact that Sunday is a day that we should give our time and thoughts to God. A day where we pause to remember all that God has done for us. We may put a lot of effort into Sunday to make sure that we can be the best person that we can be in the sight of God and in the sight of our fellow man. But what about the days in between Sundays? Aren’t they important too? Absolutely!

The Psalmist David said in Psalm 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Here we have the idea of someone who continually is meditating on God’s law or his word. The example for us is to make sure that we do this, not just on Sunday, but every day of our lives.

Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” We are not only to continue meditating on God’s word, but also continue in doing what it requires us to do. We absolutely do not get a vacation from this after Sunday as so many tend to think. Sunday, after all, is the easiest day of the week to be a Christian. It’s after this, when we face the world during the week, that we will truly be tested. Therefore, we must be on our guard day and night, striving to live as the Christian should live, not just on Sunday, but during each and every day of our lives!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why did I miss that?

I was listening to the radio the other day and I happened to be tuned into a station where the broadcasters were calling up people randomly and asking them a simple question. This, by the way, is a normal routine for the people on this radio station. They call and ask various questions to show how people fail to notice many things they come in contact with on a regular basis. This particular day, the question was, “Who is the President on the one dollar bill?” Well, several people didn’t even try to guess, one person hung up, and one of them guessed Abraham Lincoln. I have to admit that I had to think for just a moment before I remembered that it was Washington.

This started me thinking about how much detail we miss in the simplest of objects that we come in contact with on a regular basis. So many have handled the dollar bill and used it many times but still miss some of the most obvious details. Of course, it may not be that obvious to us because we usually don’t sit down and study a dollar bill. We usually just take it out of our wallet and use it in exchange for whatever we are buying. The fact that George Washington is on the front never occurred to us.

Sadly, so many Scriptures are just like that picture of George Washington. They are passed over without any thought whatsoever to what the passage means. This is done because so many succeed in reading their Bible every day but fail miserably when it comes to studying what they read. This is basically just reading the Bible every day so I can tell the preacher that I’ve been reading it every day. But do you really study it? If not, then what is your purpose in reading the Bible anyway? The Bible is there for us to study and the only way that we can learn God’s will is by studying it! We also need the Bible when it comes to fighting the false doctrines of Satan. The Bible is a great tool meant to be used! “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So  the next time you pick up your Bible to read it -- which I hope will be soon -- instead of just casually reading it, study it with the remembrance that it is absolutely the ultimate weapon against Satan!

Jonathan Glaesemann