Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to school

It’s that time of year again: time for your kids to go back to school. No doubt for the past few weeks you have been buying cloths, backpacks, paper, pencils, folders, and everything else they need for school. You want them to be prepared as much as possible. While it is great that you have prepared them for school, have you prepared them for the temptations they will face at school? Clothes and school supplies are good to provide for your kids but preparations for the trials that they will face at school are even more important.

Trials such as peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, sex, and stress can result from those that they interact with at school. Even the classroom, where teachers may teach them evolution, can put a little doubt and confusion in a child’s mind. That’s all the devil wants. Just a little bit of doubt, fear, and sin. Not enough for you to notice it when they get home from school. Ephesians 4:6 says, “And, ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Bringing them up in the Lord includes preparing them spiritually for school and everything else they are exposed to in the world. Spend time with them and tell them what they will face and how to avoid sin. Teach them about heaven as they grow and the rewards waiting for them if they live faithfully to Christ. Train your children! If you don’t, Satan will be more than happy to do it for you -- and he will do it at school!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Saturday, August 25, 2012

True independence

The best independence is not from oppression here on earth, but from sin and the devil. An anonymous quote reads, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” We are truly free from the devil and sin with Christ (Galatians 5:1). However, this independence is not cheap. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Independence also isn’t easy Belief is the beginning point of one’s obedience to Jesus (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6). That belief comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), not by a miraculous intervention. Once someone believes, their life begins to change, which is repentance (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38). Confession of Christ as God’s Son is also important (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10), and is demonstrated by several who confessed Him (John 6:69; 11:27; Acts 8:37). The final act which will free you is baptism because it washes away your sins (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Finally, in order to keep salvation, one has to develop and grow (2 Peter 1:3-11; 3:18). If you want to be truly free, why not try the redemption found in Jesus Christ?

Kyle Campbell

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Willing to forgive

As Jesus was hanging on the cross being spat on and mocked, He lifted up His voice to the Father and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34a). What a noble and gracious statement to make about those who were crucifying Him. He had pity on their hearts and saw their lost souls and was willing to forgive them. Of course, Jesus being God could have, at that moment, forgiven them of their sins like he did the thief, but didn't until the day of Pentecost. Peter speaks to the very same people who crucified Jesus and said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). They asked in vs. 37, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter’s response was, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” They were to repent and be baptized for the remission of sin. Clearly they hadn’t been forgiven when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Jesus was willing to forgive them, but didn't until they had repented and were baptized.

The lesson we learn from this is that we should be willing to forgive those who do us wrong. We may not forgive them until they have repented but that still doesn’t mean that we should have hateful feelings for them at any point in time. Jesus didn't forgive those who were crucifying Him while He was on the cross, but He didn't have hateful feelings toward them either. This is something that many individuals, even some brethren, do not understand. They think if you haven’t forgiven someone, then you have harsh feelings towards them. Jesus said in Luke 17:3, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” We need to rebuke and then forgive when the one who has wronged us repents. Jesus also said in Mark 11:26, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” We need to have a forgiving heart or God will not have one toward us come Judgment Day. Rebuke and forgive! It’s just another part of being a faithful Christian.

Jonathan Glaesemann

Friday, August 17, 2012

Are you awake?

When someone is scared out of a nightmare, they are usually unnerved and want light immediately. Ephesians 5:13-14 is a call for those who are asleep spiritually. It says, “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Romans 13:11-12 has a similar idea: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

How can someone awaken? If you are spiritually dead in your sins (Ephesians 2:1-2), then you can spiritually awaken and arise by obeying the gospel. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Your sins will be blotted out or forgiven by the blood of Christ through baptism (Romans 6:3-4; Ephesians 1:7).

If a Christian goes back to sleep by returning back to sin, they can awake and arise through repentance. The apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

God calls us to be awake, sober, and watchful. This means that every faculty we possess will be attuned to the detection of wrong attitudes and actions, while concentrating on holiness and purity in thought and deed. This defense will keep Satan at bay, and will allow us to inherit eternal life.

Kyle Campbell

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sheep and goats

Matthew 25:31-33 says, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

Sheep and goats grazed in the same pasture, but it was necessary to separate the herds because the male goat was often hostile toward the sheep. “Sheep” denotes the righteous; they are emblematic of innocence and harmlessness (Psalm 23:1; 74:1; 100:3; John 10:7, 14-16, 27). Goats, which are naturally difficult to deal with, were considered symbols of riotous, profane, and impure men. They represent all who have lived and died in their sins (Ezekiel 34:17; Zechariah 10:3).

The right hand is the place of honor, and denotes the situation of those who are honored, or those who are virtuous (Psalm 110:1; Ecclesiastes 10:2; Ephesians 1:20; Acts 2:25, 33). The left hand was the place of dishonor, denoting condemnation (Ecclesiastes 10:2).

People in sin will be lost. Paul wrote, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Don’t be a “goat.” Turn to God and obey the gospel so you can be at God’s right hand.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I am the Alpha and the Omega"

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13).

This verse is probably the greatest general description of God found in scripture. It shows us how God exists and why He is the Supreme Being that He is. Let us just for a moment look at God and His existence from beginning to end.

God is the Alpha or the beginning. This shows that God was the beginning of everything (Genesis 1:1); but not only this, it shows that God always has been. This of course is very hard for the human mind to grasp -- that someone could have always existed -- but nevertheless it is the case with God. One of the greatest arguments against evolution is the old adage, “Something is, therefore something always was.” And that “something” happens to be “someone,” and that someone is God!

God is also the Omega or the end. He brought this world into existence and He will be the One who will bring it to an end (2 Peter 3:10). After this He will continue to exist throughout eternity. Someone as powerful as this deserves our respect and devotion. Let us hope that we can give Him that devotion so He will be our eternity. We need to be sure that our soul belongs to Him and not to Satan because like God, we will exist forever. Let us strive to make sure we do not spend that existence in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone! “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Become a Christian today if you have not already done so (John 3:16; Romans 10:10; Luke 13:3; Mark 16:16) and don’t look back (Hebrews 10:39)!

Jonathan Glaesemann