Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The praise of others

Jane Clayson Johnson, a former correspondent for CBS News and mother of two who left the news business to be a stay-at-home mom, shared her grandmother’s wisdom about remaining down-to-earth in the public eye. She said, “If you allow the praise of others to define you, their criticism will destroy you.”

Concern for what others think of you is a difficult balance. One on hand, you should want to present a good image to the world. You should be a person whose light shines (Matthew 5:16). However, feeding upon praise for being righteous or for a great accomplishment is dangerous. Paul wrote, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

A wise person depends on what the Lord thinks: “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Corinthians 10:18). If you stand approved by God, then everything will fall into place as it should. You will never be popular (John 15:19; 2 Timothy 3:12), but you will be right. The world’s praise will not define you, nor will its criticism destroy you.

Kyle Campbell

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hope on the rocks or hope on the Rock?

Everybody has problems in their life but it is how we deal with them that determines who we are. Sadly, so many try to deal with their problems in the wrong way, especially by trying to drink their pain away. They think that if they drink and forget about their problems, everything will be fine.

There are scriptures that speak of the dangers of alcohol. Proverbs 23:31-32 says, “Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly: at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.” Actually, by putting their hope “on the rocks” they make the situation that they are in worse and create more problems for themselves. Health problems, car accidents, broken homes/relationships, and crime can all be traced back to alcohol. Many are drawn in by what alcohol appears it can give them and then they ignore the consequences.

In reality, alcohol can never help us with our problems, but there is One who can! God is our rock and our shelter in the time of storm, as the song goes (2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 31:3; 71:3). In your storms of life, go to God and He will help you face your problems and deal with them instead of trying to hide from them. So where will you anchor your ship in the storm: on the rocks or on the Rock?

Jonathan Glaesemann

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Courageous people

Trusting and serving God gives the Christian courage to face the adversities of life. Courage means the ability to do something frightening. Courageous means that you are not deterred by danger or pain; you have strength in the face of pain or grief.

Courageous examples are found in Elijah, who opposed the false prophets of the Baal in 1 Kings 18, Daniel, who refused to defile himself with the king’s food in Daniel 1, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow down to the image Nebuchadnezzar built in Daniel 3; Peter and John, who refused to stop preaching about Jesus in the face of imprisonment in Acts 4; Stephen, who held fast his faith when being killed for the cause of Christ in Acts 7, or Paul, who defended himself before a hostile crowd in Jerusalem in Acts 21.

Knowing that these people went through what they did gives me encouragement that I can stand when the time comes to do so. I share this devotion with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. But sadly, some are not even motivated enough to attend or participate in the work of God’s kingdom. If called upon to stand, would they? Their past performance would argue the negative. A child of God can take courage (John 16:33), but courage desperately needs faithfulness. Build yourself up in “the most holy faith” (Jude 20), and then be courageous like people of faith were in the past when the time calls for it.

Kyle Campbell

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"He being dead still speaks"

“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).

In Genesis 4, Cain and Able made sacrifices to God. Able’s was accepted while Cain’s was not which made Cain jealous of Able and led him to murdering his brother. There are two ideas behind why Able pleased God and Cain did not. First of all, God could have commanded them to offer a lamb and Cain got it all wrong by offering of his fruit. However there is another idea in that Able offered the first of his flock while Cain just offered some random fruit that he had and didn’t have the right attitude about offering the best. Either way, Able still left behind a good example for us to follow by offering his sacrifice. This is what the Hebrew writer meant when he said, “He being dead still speaks.”

Now here is a question for you to consider. When you are dead, what will you still speak? When we die we will leave behind with others the memories of how we lived our life. Will we leave behind a good example to show others how to get to heaven? Will they remember us as the blessed man (Psalm 1:1-3), or the virtuous woman (Proverbs 31:10-31)? Believe it or not, we will speak even after we are dead and gone. What will it be? The choice is up to you!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Haters of truth

George Orwell, who famously wrote 1984, said, “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” These words agree with the words of Jesus, for He said, “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:21-22).

Regarding John the Baptist, Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed” (Matthew 17:12). The Hebrew Christians were also persecuted: “Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used” (Hebrews 10:33).

God’s children are going to be persecuted, just like the saints of old. Paul warned of persecution of God’s children: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). George Orwell was correct, the more our society turns toward attacks on the Bible’s reliability and toward immoral behavior like homosexuality, the more God’s saints will be ridiculed, persecuted, and perhaps even regulated. “Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) means standing for the truth (Jude 3), even in the face of mistreatment.

Kyle Campbell

Friday, February 1, 2013

"My people have forgotten me"

The children of Judah had transgressed against God through their idolatry and oppression of their countrymen. Of course, God had tried to bring them back to Him. He said, “In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion” (Jeremiah 2:30). Two verses later, God said, “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” Jeremiah finds it incredible that a bride could forget her attire, yet Israel, God’s bride, has long forgotten HIm who through the covenant at Sinai had unique status in the world.

Moses warned the Israelites: “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons” (Deuteronomy 4:9). Memory is a powerful gift that God has given to man, and that memory should be used to keep God and His benefits always in mind. The New Testament encourages the process of remembering for the sake of faithfulness and repentance (Jude 1:17; Revelation 2:5; 3:3). In both testaments, forgetting God lead to apostasy and sin.

How many times a week do you remember God? Do you only remember Him when you gather in the assemblies? Reading and meditating on the Bible everyday will keep Him close to you and will help you reject the devil’s schemes (James 4:7-8).

Kyle Campbell